When I was a kid, the lives of pop stars were as remote and mysterious as the moons of Jupiter. While magazines like Rolling Stone and Melody Maker offered tantalizing glimpses into the worlds of Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend and Freddie Mercury, it remained impossible to imagine them doing everyday things. Surely, David Bowie never went to a coffee shop. Jimmy Page couldn't get stuck in rush hour traffic. And Stevie Nicks didn't watch The Tonight Show while eating Rocky Road ice cream from the carton.
With today's musicians and artists, it's impossible not to imagine them doing such mundane things, because they tell us they're doing them every few hours, via Twitter. The internet has been chiseling away at rock star mystique for years, but nothing has quite changed the dynamic between musician and fan like Twitter.
For those just waking up from a five-year coma, Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site where you can send links and brief bits of news (140 characters max) to followers, reply to Tweets and get the latest updates from people you follow. Since its 2006 launch, Twitter has attracted over 100 million users.
Artist tweets fall into four categories--self-promotion and news (this is the style of most "pre-internet" stars from Springsteen to Ozzy), conversation with fans, pass-along links and candid thoughts and jokes.
After spending a few days following hundreds of tweets, here's a sampling of eight artists who give good Twitter:
Everything But The Girl's singer offers funny glimpses into her domestic life, along with opinions on books and records, and banter with fans.
"Put my back out this morning pulling on pair of jeans. Which seems CRUELLY symbolic of the end of youth. Elasticated comfort slacks from now on."
Waits doesn't tweet that often, but when he does it's usually memorable.
"I don't get played on the radio ever. Marcel Marceau gets more airplay than I do."
The singer-songwriter has always been a witty blogger. His tweets are like Steven Wright-meets-Milton Berle.
"Whenever I hear, 'The sun'll come out tomorrow,' I think - 'Live in The Now, Annie!'"
Gaga's the most popular artist on Twitter, with over 5 million followers. For a star who retains old school mystique, her tweets are still personable.
"Gaga does Dallas. Calling all Dallas gays! Are their [sic] any inappropriate Western stores where I may find some unacceptable day wear? Xmother"
Mayer is amusing and outspoken. Last year, it got him into trouble when he compared sex with Jessica Simpson to "crack cocaine."
"Great one at 'Jiffy Lube Live' amphitheater. Everyone got a sticker on their windshield to [let] them know the next time to get rocked."
Like Tom Waits, Cave isn't a serial user, but his tweets are colourful.
"Irritated. CSI NY writers: 'E pluribus unum' does not mean what you think it means. I hereby offer to be your on-call Latin expert. Call me."
Like her songs, Mann's tweets are dry, funny and barbed.
"Dear Fellow LA Driver: If I am on the road and I make what you perceive to be an 'error,' please do not give me 'what the fuck' hands."
On his records, West's braggadocio can wear thin. On Twitter, he's more down-to-earth.
"I just tried to sing the first notes of 'Runaway Love' and when my voice cracked, had to remember I don't sing that good--GODBLESSAUTOTUNE"
Paisley's one of the only country stars who invites you on the bus to share snapshots of the touring life.
"Would like to thank the Canadian border agents for the gentle frisking. Good times. Good times."
Over to you guys--which are your favorite pop Twitterers?
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