By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
TV Presenter, Selly Galley was all over the trends over the week and it was due to some considerably good reason. She made the headlines and became the center of all the chatter due to curses she rained on a commentator to her post on social media.
While some sympathized with her over the vitriol that was thrown at her, others applauded her seemingly scathing response while some had issues with the response.
Selly’s case is only one of many spats that ensue between celebrities and some of their followers on social media.
‘Clapback’ in the cyber world, is just another word for harsh response(s) offered by celebrities to unflattering comments posted by some unruly followers.
Celebrity – Follower Barrier
The introduction and acceptance of social media has allowed celebrities the opportunity to connect intimately with their fans but while the platform has brought communication between celebrities and their fans to a peak, the interactions have not always been exciting.
Being a celebrity on social means that everyone always has an opinion on your life, your decisions, and the photos that you share. Most of the time, these opinions are pretty negative.
There used to be an overwhelming gap between celebrities and their fans and followers but social media has cut that gap drastically, giving the opportunity to the followers to interact directly with their idols.
In wanting to enjoy the privileges of that platform, many celebrities let themselves go and virtually live their lives with these followers on social media. Every activity, action or project they undertake is placed on social media; how they eat, sleep and what they wear, the celebrities want the followers to see and know.
These move by these celebrities open themselves up to praise, backlash and ridicule from these followers, many of whom are just on the platform for one purpose – to be trolls!
Trolls Are Real
Just like the troll in the Selly Galley case, their purpose on being on social media is just simple – make life uncomfortable for these celebrities. Many of these followers, in wanting attention and credibility on that space, have made it did a career to be mean to these celebrities.
They are always on the look-out to send scornful comments to any and everything posted by these celebs. They will call them out, body-shame them and cast all manner of invective on every post made by the celebrities.
These trolls do not care about how these celebrities feel. For most of them, they yearn for these popular figures to see their hurtful commentary and even respond. It builds their street credibility on that platform.
Lydia Forson, Yvonne Nelson, Michael Oti Adjei, Jon Germain, John Dumelo and others are noted for ‘savage clapbacks’ – giving these incorrigible followers a taste of their own medicine.
The usual admonition given to these ‘celebs’ when they are attacked by trolls is for them to ignore. Sound advice but when they (celebs) get frazzled, tired and fed up with such trolls, they ought to fight back.
In an era where online bullies have increased, a celebrity has every right to ‘clap back’ as they see fit. Social media has also made it easier for people to spread lies about these celebrities, so, defending oneself and, by extension, one’s reputation, becomes a necessity.
Information tends to travel fast on social media, so are any negative information about a celebrity, therefore, it is imperative for these public figures to ‘clapback’ while setting the records straight and putting out what is truth – all in the bid to protect their honour, image and reputation.
Some commentators questioned Selly Galley for her response. They felt she was excessive with her ‘clapback’ which was inundated with curses. For some, her response elicited shock and disappointment.
Celebrities, due to their brand positioning, are expected to have clean images and not get entangled in rows, especially on social media. For some, once they get drawn into confrontations with trolls, it gets messier, much to the excitement of these trolls – leaving the ‘celeb’ in such a bad light.
In an era when these celebrities have become conscious of their corporate standing, which is heavily connected to their ability to ink endorsement deals, protecting their image is key.
Getting into unnecessary scuffles with trolls could end badly for these celebrities, who are sometimes pushed to spew out obnoxious rebuttals that may not align with their persona and whatever corporate brand they represent.
The troll always has nothing to lose; it behooves the celebrity to put his/her feelings in check and measure the sort of response they offer to such disparaging comments.
‘Clapbacks’ Can Be Measured
Under normal circumstances, majority of these trolls who make negative comments would never ever step up to these celebrities and ‘diss’ them publicly. They dare not! Social media removes barriers to access, so fans, followers and haters can step right up and say what they want to say.
Sometimes, celebrities are allowed to show that, they are not pushovers and should never operate as if they are, however, they must be mindful of how they ‘clapback’ on social media. The fact is; there are many fake profiles on social media, and the persons behind them live to stir up trouble.
Social media have made these celebrities are so accessible, and while they would want that space to share information with their genuine fans, there are also persons who are not fans who also have access to the celebrities as well, and they just want to see the artiste break.
Mostly, these persons are looking for hype, to post their cynical comments and also to repost ‘clapbacks’ from the celebrities. Ultimately, they want attention and will do anything to push the buttons of these celebrities.
‘Clapbacks’ have become somewhat the norm in the cyber space and depending on a celebrity’s image, a certain response may generate shock and even disappointment, therefore, it is imperative to always offer a restrained rebuttal.