How Do Celebrities Use Twitter? Interview With @ShiraLazar

Celebrities and stars in the tech world use Twitter for a lot of reasons – promoting a new venture, to praise or complain about something, to share information, to spread news about a good cause.  So I thought it would be fun to hear from the stars themselves about how they use it.

You probably know her as the creator and host @whatstrending on @CBSNews live on Tuesday at 10 a.m. (PT). She is also a correspondent on The Tomorrow Show with Mo Rocca, a contributor on The Huffington Post and host of This Week in YouTube as well as Live Earth Video, bringing people information and news about the global water crisis.

When you joined: March 12, 2008

Why you signed up: All the cool kids were doing it. Just kidding, even though at the time I didn’t understand the power it has now, it seemed like an interesting and fascinating new way to connect and communicate with people.

Number of followers: 31,350

Number following: 636

Your favourite part of twitter: Connecting and building relationships with people I would have never been able to interface with. Finding ideas and comments on stories I’m covering in real-time is exciting! The stories of how Twitter has been used to save lives, mobilize communities against totalitarian regimes and raise money for worthy causes has been powerful and inspiring to see.

Least favourite: The fact that if you don’t tweet over one day, it’s almost like you’re non-existent. There’s definitely a bit of anxiety around feeling like you constantly need to contribute or else you lose value as a person or brand.

Do you have any rules? No rules necessarily, just general etiquette. I try to balance out talking about myself with contributing links to other people’s work and articles I’m reading that other people might find interesting or valuable. I also try to @ reply appropriately to people, but not flood my twitter feed with a ton of @ reply’s. Sometimes I’ll even DM someone if I don’t feel like having a long public conversation with them. I also try to be honest and of course true to myself, but I’m wary of being too negative or saying something about someone or somebody that I may regret later. It’s easy to forget that once you put something out there, it pretty much exists forever. That’s something to be aware of.

What do you use twitter for mostly – promotion, conversation, etc.? As I mentioned, I use it for a balance of everything. I obviously will use it to let people know about what I’m up to or when I’m going live on my show or on YouTube. However, a huge part of Twitter for me is definitely the conversational element. I also use it to track conversations and news by following hashtags. It’s incredible how that can change the way you’re informed and care about international news more than ever before. I also use it to get ideas or questions for guests I’m going to interview, and I’ll give that person a shout-out if we decide to use it on-air. It’s fun to see how excited people get when they hear their name. It allows for a real-time interactivity with the audience that we never had before.

What have been some of the best tweets you’ve done? I can’t even remember my tweets from last week – ha!- but I do love tweeting from events I’m hosting like the Oscars and Grammy’s. When I was on vacation in Hawaii, I used the 360 app to tweet amazing pictures of the beaches I was on. Finally, I love tweeting quotes like this one that I found useful over a pretty chill Twitter weekend from @SethGodin: “If you’re going to waste time (and I hope you will) the least you can do is do it well.”

Any great stories you want to share? I’ve gotten in touch with a lot of people for interviews using Twitter. For instance, we tweeted Talib Kweli to get him on the first episode of What’s Trending. I’ve done the same thing with Russell Simmons who DM’d me the appropriate contact for an interview after I tweeted him. It’s always exciting to see someone tweet a story of yours. For example, @JustinBieber tweeted a story we aired on What’s Trending live about the non-profit “Pencils of Promise”. His engagement and fan base is amazing. Our staff joked around that were true beliebers after that 😉

Whose tweets do you enjoy getting? I love following @TheDailyLove for daily inspirational blogs and quotes, @FastCompany, @Mashable, @NYTimes, @Storyful and @Buzzfeed for news around current events, social media and what’s going viral. In terms of people, I love following @Sacca, @TimFerriss, @Caro, @Baratunde, @Digiphile, @BBosker and @BrianStelter among many others.

How often do you tweet? From where? What platform or social media dashboard do you use? I use TweetDeck from my laptop and the Twitter app from my phone.

Do you try to tweet at only specific times or is it more like, “whenever”? Whenever I feel like it and it’s appropriate on my personal account. I try not to be a twitter chatterbox- just like how you communicate with people offline, you need to balance how you connect with people online too. I am a bit more aware of tweeting through my work and show- @WhatsTrending. During the week, we try have at least one tweet per hour promoting one of our stories or RT’ing someone else’s. We try to ask questions and answer as many of the @ replys as possible so people know we’re listening and constantly engaged.

Do you ever use Twitter as a procrastination tool? Not as much in terms of me blabbing lazily about my procrastination (although that sometimes does happen), but more to read through the tweets of my followers, which can be highly unproductive at times.

Will you be retweeting this interview? Of course!