Moreover, Twitter seems largely ambivalent to the parody accounts of dead people – Samuel Pepys, George Washington and, uh, Darth Vader, all have a long-established (and devoted following) on the network. But none of these accounts have been officially verified by Twitter – this would be strange, after all, as they’re dead.
All of which makes the arrival of a freshly-verified Marilyn Monroe on the network something of a curiosity.
The profile, which can be found under the username @marilymonroe, is the real deal, inasmuch as, and according to the account bio, it is “tweeting on behalf of the estate of Marilyn Monroe”, and has quickly racked up thousands of followers.
This has all happened on the back of a renewed interest in the iconic star, following a consolidation of the Monroe brand which has seen control of her photo and estate assets moved under one “halo” organisation.
“For the first time in nearly fifty years, the Marilyn Monroe brand has been consolidated under one roof here at ABG,” said Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group, who acquired the name and likeness of Marilyn Monroe in 2010. “We are working tirelessly to reflect her A-list status by signing best-in-class partners all over the world.”
Fair enough, you might think. No real harm in that. But I have to say I find the concept of dead celebrities tweeting officially – that is, with a verified badge – on Twitter, a little strange. On one hand, it’s good news for fans, as it means that @Elvis, @JohnLennon and @Tupac will be ‘live’ and tweeting anytime now – but where do you draw the line? How soon is it too soon to resurrect somebody on Twitter, officially?
There are many examples of Twitter profiles that were established before a celebrity died, and then remained active following their passing – Amy Winehouse is a recent and notable example – but what if @RiverPhoenix suddenly shows up on Twitter with a verified badge? Or @HeathLedger? Or @SteveIrwin?
What about @MichaelJackson?
Where is the line between a memoriam and bad taste? Should the verified accounts of dead celebrities be limited to the truly iconic, and who decides who qualifies?
Twitter, I guess. Film at eleven.