Sunday, 6 March 2011

Communicator of the week

The slow demise of a once shining star shouldn't really be a cause for celebration but I'm willing to make an exception this week. The bizarre life of Charlie Sheen, one time brat-pack actor, TV sitcom star and now a social media phenomenon has been a case study in the modern media world.

Sheen has been a Hollywood bad boy for years with people becoming immune to the stories of alcohol and drug abuse, followed by stints in rehab. All this while being paid over $1 million a show for his CBS sitcom 'Two and a Half Men'. This week it is fair to say that he has reached meltdown but, instead of seeing his career ending he seems to be having a bizarre renaissance.

Sheen smashed the Guinness World Record for soaring past the 1 million follower mark on Twitter in a little over a day and coined his own catch-phrases that have become an industry in themselves as well as trending subjects world-wide on Twitter. Fox News reports that since the beginning of Sheen's rants a week ago, products including songs, T-shirts, mugs, ring tones and even a radio station have been produced. In the UK they led The Guardian to run a quiz on who between Sheen and Colonel Gaddafi had said what of a choice selection of ramblings .

The Telegraph ran a helpful top 10 of Sheen's crazy quotes - my favourite is, “I’m tired of pretending like I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitchin’, a total freakin’ rock star from Mars.”

It remains to be seen if Sheen can re-build his career based on the earnings he may be able to secure through endorsing products on Twitter or through other means. What this week has shown is the speed a story can develop, build momentum and move around the world like never before. It may be that the speed this story developed will see the media grow disinterested in a similar amount of time but, for this week at least, Charlie Sheen is my communicator of the week.

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