Analyzing How Twitter Has Impacted the Way Fans View WWE Superstars
For WWE fans, Twitter is the wrecking ball to the proverbial fourth wall.
Call it invasive or innovative, Twitter has become the bridge that allows fans entry into Superstars' lives. The social media tool has made many Superstars more human and more approachable to fans.
This direct connection between performer and audience can be fun for both.
It's instantaneous—a major improvement compared to the slow crawl of fan mail. It allows fans to share their artwork, jokes and appreciation directly with the Superstars. For WWE's champions, heroes and anti-heroes, it's a way to see how their work is being perceived beyond the arenas they perform in.
Twitter shows WWE fans a side of their favorite Superstars not seen on TV.
Wrestlers show off their private lives and humor that doesn't get infused into their onscreen personas.
For some, this additional access has been a means to deride the performers. With no security guards and no railing on the Internet, the so-called "keyboard warriors" have used Twitter to take shots at the Superstars.
One could argue how authentic the closeness between fans and Superstars is, but there's no doubt that Twitter has transformed our interactions with wrestlers.
Yoshi Tatsu can joke with the crowd despite rarely appearing on WWE TV.
Fans who follow him on Twitter know how hard he has studied English recently and how goofy and endearing he can be. They are fully aware of his love for action figures. As a result, the Japanese speedster has a bigger following than he would have had pre-Twitter.
Fans can joke right back.
A fan sent Big E. Langston a video of a video game version of him dancing to Kaitlyn's music and he took it in stride, sharing it with his followers.
Both Langston and Kaitlyn are Superstars who have embraced the format. They both consistently interact with their fans and seem to have fun doing so. Their fans get to see far more of them than what is shown on Raw or SmackDown.
On screen, Langston is a brooding beast. On Twitter, he's more of a lovable goof.
This contrast wouldn't happen if WWE protected kayfabe like a magician protects his secrets.
Twitter allows fans to hear about Shawn Michaels' hunting exploits, Kaitlyn's love of The Simpsons or Daniel Bryan hanging out with his dog.
Fans of Dynamite Kid didn't get to see him in his pajamas or snuggling with his girlfriend. They didn't get a chance to see how Gorgeous George or Buddy Rogers spent their spare time.
So even if it's not completely accurate, fans feel like they know their Superstars in an intimate way.
For the most part, that's true. WWE's most prolific users of Twitter share plenty of personal info and candid photos. Of course, they don't share everything and only reveal the layers they feel comfortable showing off.
Still, it's a fun time to be a fan.
Fix your hair like Sheamus' and you might get his attention, not to mention his retweet.
Dress up like AJ Lee at Comic-Con and the Divas champ might share the photo.
Unfortunately, there are fans who use Twitter to play tough guy and send messages to Superstars they likely would never say in a face-to-face scenario.
Twitter makes trashing John Cena or mocking Brodus Clay easier. Even someone not on the active roster, like Ezekiel Jackson, falls victim to random negativity.
CM Punk's aggression gets him plenty of backlash via tweets.
If you are going to trash talk Punk, you best have your grammar game on point. Punk is known to rip apart poorly constructed messages.
“your the moron. You jerk” Says it all.— CM Punk (@CMPunk) July 21, 2013
Chances are, the folks who say these kinds of snarky things to Punk, Jackson or whoever would wilt when face to face with these Superstars.
Twitter has opened previously closed doors, and with that comes unwanted pests. The social media tool is an imperfect one, but an exciting evolution of the WWE experience.
The way fans connect with WWE's Superstars has shortened the distance between stage and audience, for better or for worse.
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