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Celebrities on Twitter, and why you shouldn't follow them

Everybody's talking about celebrities on Twitter. Isn't it exciting? Actually, no. Here's why it's time to unfollow the famous folk

Celebrities. Aren't they brilliant? They're better than us in every way, and now they've even taken over Twitter. Tweeters are in two minds over whether this is a good thing, and while Crave welcomes all new users to Twitter -- you can follow the CNET UK Twitter feed at twitter.com/cnetuk -- we suggest it's time to unfollow the famous before the noise gets too much.

It's the influx of real-world celebrities that has lifted Twitter over the geek parapet and into the mainstream. When Jonathan Ross found himself barred from the BBC, he could have disappeared from public sight for three months. Instead he did something very smart: he signed up to Twitter. With Stephen Fry already amassing an army of followers, Wossy's arrival -- and more importantly, his actual engagement with the site -- made it clear that Twitter, and the Web in general, is now taken seriously as part of the mainstream.

Since Ross arrived, and signed up fellow BBC pariah Russell Brand, who allegedly wrote his first tweet from Wossy's kitchen, there's been an explosion of other famous people getting involved. Chris Moyles and Philip Schofield have both used Twitter to engage with their massive audiences, involving the service in their shows in a fun way. All good stuff so far.

More exposure means more people joining the conversation, which should be a good thing. So why shouldn't you follow them? Because, by and large, these big names aren't saying anything. A vicious circle has sprung up, whereby the mainstream media, which often still doesn't get Twitter -- as we type this very article, a DJ has just described Twitter as "a Web site for stalking people"; Lorraine Kelly, anyone? -- focuses on the celebs, the celebs get more followers, and the noise around them increases. Then the attention Twitter's been getting sees users who don't get it -- and worse, don't care -- leap on the bandwagon. Companies spamming, band profiles updated by bored work-experience kids -- we're looking at you, Razorlight, but we're not linking -- and celebrities being trolled. Not good.

Twitter would seem to be the perfect venue to find out what your favourite celebrities, artists and famous people are thinking about and what they're doing, cutting out the sensationalist and fictionalised gossip media. Twitter does two things exceptionally well: it provides a platform for people to fire off quick and pithy thoughts that give an insight to their life, and it provides a conduit for people to contact each other in an informal and equal atmosphere.

As we discussed in our Twitter masterclass on advanced tweeting, how you use Twitter is up to you, but if your feed is going to be an interesting read, we'd argue you probably need to strike a balance between the two. Unfortunately, Twitter's greatest virtue -- the fact that it provides a level playing field and open, equal access to all users -- becomes a problem when celebrity users are deluged with messages, and they spend all their time answering them. Great for the person touching the celebrity hem, alienating to everyone else.

We don't expect celebrity tweeters to just ignore their followers; that would be a waste of the site's potential. Celebs should make more use of the direct message function, however, to stop their feeds from being overrun by @replies. Twitter does offer the option of turning off @replies or only showing @replies when both users follow each other, but only for everyone you follow. We'd like to turn off celebrity @replies while still keeping the conversations going on between our mates.

And the worst thing? They say you should never meet your heroes, and the same applies to Twitter. They may well just be really dull. Half the time we'd rather have the fake versions.

If voting with the unfollow button is the only way to filter out the noise, that's the way it has to be. It's time to realise just because someone leads an interesting life and creates interesting art, that doesn't mean they're going to be interesting on Twitter. This is the Internet. Everyone is equal. There are no celebrities. You're either interesting or you're nothing. So make an effort, famous people.