Friday 21 November 2014

Rory and Caroline now world's Tweet-hearts

Published 02/01/2014 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki pictured together during 2013
Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki

AH bless. We all love a happy ending. After months of frenzied speculation as to whether it was "on" or "off", ace golfer Rory McIlroy and his stunning Danish tennis pro girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki teed up 2014 by getting engaged in Australia.

But this was not news the golden couple saved exclusively for family and friends. They served it up to millions and millions of people all over the world on Twitter, along with pictures of a humdinger of a diamond ring on Caroline's perfectly manicured hand and the happy couple beaming in Sydney Harbour.

Caroline tweeted to her 576,000 followers: "Happy New Year everyone! Rory and I started 2014 with a bang! ... I said YES!!!!" And an hour later Rory followed by tweeting Happy New Year to his 1.8 million twitter fans adding: "I have a feeling it's going to be a great year!! My first victory of 2014 #shesaidyes!!"

You could, in fact, call it the perfect Tw-engagement. And no doubt the young couple will keep us updated on their relationship and private lives on the Twitter machine in 2014. We might have the Twedding. And eventually even the Twirth.

Don't laugh. Recently the partner of American singer/songwriter Erykah Badu tweeted the birth of their daughter with blow-by-blow details. "Water broke," he said. Followed by: "I can see the head, it's covered in hair."

Nothing is sacred anymore, and while there was a time important events in our lives such as engagements, marriages, births and even deaths were news to be shared first privately with family and friends, the big occasions are now blasted to millions of people across cyberspace in seconds. And it's not just celebrities who are baring their souls in 140 characters. We are all at it.

It is no surprise that Rory and Caroline decided to take to Twitter to share their big news. They have kept the world guessing as to the status of their relationship in the last year.

There then was the period in the summer when the tweets dried up and they took down their joint picture from their Twitter accounts. Rory was playing terribly and missing the cuts at golf tournaments. We were convinced it was all off and he was love sick. Presumably they had a tiff . . . normal for most couples.

Or maybe they were playing games with us all?

We are in the midst of a new culture of celebrities sharing every aspect of their lives with fans through social media. Sports stars, business people, actors and television presenters keep us amused and updated. We not only get words but we get a unique insight into their lives in pictures.

The juicy celebrity tidbits shared in 140-character blurbs were once the remit of the paparazzi, who make their careers selling pictures of the bizarre and banal lives of the rich and famous. But the explosive growth of Twitter means the paparazzi and tabloid press have a new source of competition -- the stars themselves.

Approximately 20 of the top 100 feeds on Twitter are written by celebrities.

And we hear it all. Before Christmas, One Direction star Niall Horan tweeted to his 16 million followers that he may be stranded in the UK due to bad weather and wouldn't make it home to Mullingar for Christmas.

Irish rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll tweeted a picture of himself on Christmas Eve wearing ridiculous oversized slippers. Just after midnight on New Year's Eve he tweeted one word. "Bed".

However, while this kind of sharing may seem like self-inflicted privacy invasion, in many cases it amounts to savvy media management. It is a way for celebrities to actually control privacy rather than giving it up.

WHILE the paparazzi won't stop stalking the tweeting stars such as Britney Spears, what they can get from them now is often devalued. We know it already -- directly from source.

The truth is we all love knowing about the lives of celebrities. And by sharing information authentically, celebs are engaging with fans and are building their brand. Twitter is one of the quickest ways to reach millions and millions.

So congratulations Rory and Caroline. Look forward to your updates. And one question for you Rory? How much did that huge rock on Caroline's finger cost?

Irish Independent

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