Fan site to official site : actors and audiences unite online
Sendhil Ramamurthy has a fan run official site
Actors’ online presence can be a little hit and miss - PR heavy websites, awkward twitter feeds and long abandoned facebook pages abound. However those celebrities who have engaged with their net-savvy fans have found that collaboration is the best way of satisfying everyone, and more and more actors are asking their fans to get involved in promoting them online.
Take a look through the list of people Tom Hiddleston follows on twitter and amongst Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessie J you’ll see the founder of @Loki_Page and @TomsFandom4Life. When his on-screen boyfriend Renly was killed off in Game of Thrones, actor Finn Jones ‘attended’ his online funeral on winteriscoming.net, whilst Glee’s Dianna Agron launched a whole site allowing fans to share what inspires them.
Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes, Covert Affairs) recently even allowed fans Jenn, Aloysius and Meaghan to create his official website, after being impressed with their real world skills in social media and design. Jenn thinks that fan run sites are much more personable than those run by management companies;
“My take is that websites that are run by management companies/publicists are geared more toward advancing their client’s career and visibility. A fan that runs a site (such as ours and a few others that I’ve seen) treats it with more reverence. Since there is no pay involved, no benefit to doing it financially, a fan would be promoting a site or a social media presence out of enthusiasm and respect for the subject of their site. That enthusiasm and the desire to reach out to as many like-minded people is something that I think a “professional” site lacks. A fan will operate as “one of them” as opposed to a distant manager or publicist whose primary purpose is to promote but protect their client and therefore, creating a significant gap between their client and the fans.
Having said that, there is a responsibility and respect that has to be maintained when a fan is working with someone’s “team”. Often, you are given information that is not intended to “go public” and you have to censor yourself in a way that you’re not quite used to. If you are working with managers, personal assistants, attorneys or the artist personally, you have (in a way) become part of their team and are subject to the same privacy issues that any other member of the team would be, even if you don’t have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.”
So does she think that the social media have affected the way celebrities see their fans?
“I would imagine that it changes things significantly. While many artists have embraced social media as a way to promote themselves in a way that they couldn’t be by a manager/publicist, it gives them a fan base in the digital space that is distinctly different than a normal consumer of entertainment. It turns an artist from “actor” or “the person who plays this character” into… themselves. The line of separation is blurred or disappears completely.
And we’ve seen clear downsides where some celebrities are concerned..
“Of course, because social media such as Twitter and Facebook are so immediate in a “type before you think” sense, I think that social media can also be detrimental to not only the artist but the fans as well.
An artist is a person like anyone else with bad moods, irritations and pet peeves. Whereas before the advent of these outlets, fans never had to witness their favorite actor/musician/whoever in the middle of a bad mood, now they are subjected to whatever someone decides to share with the online world.
People have learned that typing before you speak affects how people view them, and how marketable they are, and that can affect income in a huge way.
On the flip side, artists are now subject to a constant influx of commentary from their fans. If someone is unhappy with a song, a movie, an episode of TV, the artist now gets to hear about it on an endless loop. So not only are they getting positive feedback from respectful fans but uncensored comments from fans who believe they have more access to them because of Twitter/Facebook. The distinct distance that used to exist between an artist and the fans has blurred and sometimes disappeared entirely depending on how much the artist interacts with the fans.”
SendhilRamamurthy.net launched last week.