Few things make for such viral Twitter material as celebrity relationships. Sure, everyone was all a-Twitter about the royal engagement, but in general, break-ups seem to be the more stimulating topics. Sometimes the topics that are trending on Twitter seem random — Jaffa Cakes, anyone? — but the celebrity break-up makes sense for the Twitter audience for several reasons.
First of all, the celebrity break-up combines the public world of fame with the universal world of relationships. And when relationships are public like they are between two famous people, it becomes an easy conversation topic to decide whether you are for or against the relationship. The Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie relationship is a classic example of a public relationship turning into something that really “matters” to a lot of people. Topics that play into a topic that is both controversial and trivial usually spur lots of tweets.
Then there’s the fact that a lot of tweeters enjoy being bitter. Look at the recent tweets inspired by the Jake Gyllenhaal/Taylor Swift breakup. The breakup was a trending topic on Twitter this week, and people got into it. Even if Twitter users aren’t bitter about the breakup itself or the people involved, celebrity news often brings out bitterness about fame culture in general:
The recent breakups between Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, as well as Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson also received a lot of microblogging attention. Tweets about these breakups reveal another motivation for Twitter users — playing the always-fun game of matchmaking:
Finally, celebrity breakups make good Twitter material because they lend themselves so well to external links — celebrity sites are huge on the web, and it’s both easy and tempting to visit them and read full articles. And these days, social media in general does a good job of catering to the visual nature of celebrity culture. Think about it — how eager are you to look at a picture of the failed couple, just to judge for yourself whether you think they belong together or not?