Hesitant at first, TV talent dive into Twitter

By Cory Bergman 

My favorite story of how TV talent triumphantly avoided social media — then embraced it with open arms when they needed it — has to be Conan O’Brien. Suddenly without a network, Conan went from zero to social overnight. But there’s another story you may not have heard.

Pauley Perrette, who plays Abbey Sciuto on “NCIS,” was so repulsed after people posed as her on social networks that she named her band, “Stop Making Friends.” She also posted a YouTube video to prove that it was not her on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace — but imposters. “I simply call it identity theft,” she said. “I can’t be on social networking sites.”

That was May 2009. Fast-forward a year later, and Perrette posted a new YouTube video (above) announcing she was starting a Twitter account. “I know I said that I’m not on Twitter, and I haven’t been, but I kinda am now,” she said, a bit sheepishly.

So why the change of heart? One of her favorite charities, Hope Gardens, was 9 days away from closing. “My friend from church is like, ‘You should start a Twitter account.’ No, no, no, Stop Making Friends, that’s not me, that’s not me,” Perrette says.

But she signed up. Her first tweet read, “You can donate any $$ amount! $1! $5! $100! $500! Every dollar will be doubled by a special man, Scott Minerd! Keep @HopeGardens open!”

And people gave. A lot: $2.5 million in 48 hours. Now Perrette (@pauleyp) is one of Hollywood’s most active on Twitter, tweeting 8 times in the last hour as I write this story. And Twitter’s Chloe Sladden says this isn’t an isolated case — TV talent are more engaged than ever, promoting themselves, their projects and their favorite causes. Surprised? Nah, neither am I.