Teeming with vicious bashers who hide behind the cloak of anonymity, social networking site Twitter can be a toxic playground for celebrities.
Just recently, three of the biggest names in local show biz blew their top after falling prey to cyber bullying: Zsa Zsa Padilla was called a “has-been”; Regine Velasquez was hurt over her son Nate being ridiculed; and Sharon Cuneta had to parry an onslaught of derogatory comments on her physical appearance, personal life, and daughter KC Concepcion.
These incidents had Boy Abunda asking, “Should stars be on social networks? How much abuse can they take?”
For the TV host-personality, Twitter users and movie stars are natural enemies.
“In the world of Twitter, the playing field is equal. But stars need to be adored and validated. And moving them to a platform where anyone can say anything to them violates the concept of stars being bigger than life,” Abunda said during the launch of the project “Hope in a Bottle.”
He added: “You can be anonymous and call the stars any names you want without having any accountability. They can be called stupid, ugly, talentless … whatever!”
On March 19, Cuneta had a meltdown of sorts on Twitter after a bout with online bashers. The Megastar, who joined the site this January, tweeted: “Isang iyak lang ito. Hintayin niyo pagbawi ng strength ko … I love you Sharonians. Maraming salamat sa inyo.”
Abunda said that responding to bashers provokes and makes them feel important. But we cannot blame our celebrities, he said. “They are only human. They get hurt, too.”
Asked if he thought Cuneta should take a break from tweeting, Abunda said: “I will not make a comment as to whether she should or she should not. But this much I will say—she is very honest as a friend but she is very emotional; she is very, very emotional.”
Abunda did say, though, that before joining Twitter, celebrities should ask themselves if they can handle the bashers and cope with their bile. “You should be ready for the game,” he said. “If the water is too hot, get out.”
Although he understands that celebrities are excited at the prospect of feeling closer to their fans by sharing their experiences, Abunda feels that Twitter dissolves the mystery that makes stars special.
“It demystifies and destroys the magic. I want to feel close to Superstar [Nora Aunor], but I want her to retain her magic,” he said. “The moment you make the extraordinary ordinary, you start to think, ‘What makes you different from me? Why am I even listening to you?’”
Hope in a bottle
For someone who talks for a living, it is quite surprising that Abunda has no plans of hopping on the Twitter bandwagon. Although he is fascinated by it, Abunda said that tweeting is not for him. He admitted that he might get confrontational if he loses his cool.
Also, aside from not being tech savvy, Abunda said that he simply does not have the time. He said that he would rather get involved in social causes such as Friends in Hope Inc.’s Hope in a Bottle project, in which he serves as spokesman.
A brainchild of 1990s actress Nanette Medved and San Miguel Corp., Hope in a Bottle is a 500 ml bottle of purified drinking water, which will be sold in partner establishments. All profits will be used to build more classrooms in
public schools across the country.
A product of the public school system himself, Abunda said that his involvement in the project is a tribute to his mother, a former teacher, and to children who need a proper education.
Other celebrity ambassadors are Jericho Rosales, Bea Alonzo, Winnie Monsod, and Joey de Leon.