Yesterday Variety ran a news blurb about a new TV show being produced by Brillstein Entertainment that would be somehow based on Twitter. Details were vague but Variety described the show as being about "putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format."
The reaction of Twitter-celebs was understandably unenthusiastic. Ashton Kutcher, he of 'First one to a million followers wins!' fame, said "Wow I hope this isn't true. I really don't like being sold out. May have to take a twitter hiatus." while wife Demi Moore added "I hope this isn't true-if it is our Twitter time may come to a quick and sad end!"
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch ran a post called 300 Things I’d Like To See From Twitter Before A TV Show highlighting many (but not 300) things that the Twitter service needs more than it needs to be on television.
It general terms, the collective consciousness of Twitter all seemed to be asking the same question: what the heck was Twitter thinking?
Finally Twitter co-founder Biz Stone chimed in on the Twitter blog, but didn't add a lot of clarity to the issue. Basically he just distanced Twitter-the-company from Twitter-the-show, saying "Regarding the Reveille and Brillstein project reported today, we have a lightweight, non-exclusive, agreement with the producers which helps them move forward more freely."
So it seems the show may be real, but it isn't any kind of official Twitter production. Does that improve the situation in any way? No. Encouraging people to stalk celebrities, even on Twitter, just seems like a bad idea (and bad TV, to boot). If celebrities start to leave Twitter because of the show, it really wouldn't hurt the success of the service, but it would be a shame. Twitter is unique in being one place that star-gazers can interact on a semi-personal level with the celebs (whether they be movie stars, professional athletes or astronauts) that they're interested in. If you're snorting or scoffing at that last sentence, that's fine. Following celebs isn't for everyone. One of the brilliant things about Twitter is that it can be different things for different people, and anything that degrades the diversity of the service weakens it.
Not to mention, the last thing television needs is another reality show!