James Forsyth

Controlling the message

Controlling the message
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Shane Warne’s statement on his separation from his wife, which makes no mention of his alleged affair with Liz Hurley, is a classic example of how difficult it is for celebrities—or politicians—to both engage online and control a message.

The first comment from a Greg Quinn says, ‘thanks shane for sticking it up the poms’. One imagines this was not the tone that Warne was planning to strike.

The second is from someone calling himself Denis Angeleri and is a full-on assault on Warne’s character which includes the allegation that Warne pursued this man’s wife. Angeleri writes, ‘It is sad that all the comments are a bi product of people idolising a sportsman without even considering the selfish damage that this man does to others including the family that he says he loves. ‘He is only interested in his dick. As a person that has a wife who was pursued by him at the same time as Liz, I can tell you, that it is hard to be a fan when you see the texts and how he works. People should think what it is like if he brings his disrepect in to your back yard. Lets not forget that he completely stuffed up his former wife with his "sporting behaviour"

Now, we, obviously, have no idea if these accusations are true. But they do illustrate how difficult it is to both engage online and communicate one’s own message.

Sarah Palin is often held up as an example of a politician / celebrity who has achieved this. There’s no doubt that she uses her Twitter feed and Facebook updates to insert herself into the news and to mobilize her followers. But to keep her own Facebook page on message, Palin’s people have to delete a whole slew of comments. I suspect that more and more politicians will go the Palin route on this as they attempt to avoid either embarrassment or guilt by association.