Picture it: Your worldwide fame has paparazzi camping in your bushes, fashion mavens obsess about “who you’re wearing,” and the mere sight of you holding a product sends the hype soaring for anything from air fresheners to flavored water.
It’s hard to be a celebrity. The stress. The responsibility. And worst of all, you have no idea how people may use your words or likeness. This may be the reason why the rich and famous are flocking to WhoSay, a specialized social media service that protects the image of its famous clientele. The buzz around this service seems to be getting more and more attention lately, attracting an increasing roster of big-name users to its ranks.
So what’s the big deal? Well, consider this: When people upload a photo or vid, most never stop to think who owns the rights to that image or makes money selling ads against it. (Usually it’s the TwitPics, Yfrogs and Plixis of the world.) Maybe that’s no biggie for Aunt Irma, but it matters if you’re Kevin Spacey, David Boreanaz, Chelsea Handler, Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Demi Lovato, John Cusack or any other star who cares about public perception. Heck, even personalities who don’t seem to care about their image have popped onto WhoSay. (Yeah, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, I’m looking at you.)
What’s unique here is that the service gives the copyright directly to account owners. (It even automatically slaps a “circle c” with their names on all photos, which are stored on secure servers.) This alone is an attractive proposition for some people, but it also corrals a number of social services in one place, so users can manage their online persona across networks. So it’s both convenient and helps prevent user-owned content from spreading all over the interwebs. This allows members to share things at will easily and without worry.
WhoSay might be like a new form of virtual clubhouse or A list. Like red carpet events and velvet rope after-parties, the service — which is partially backed by Creative Artists Agency — is invitation-only. Given that CAA represents many of Hollywood’s hottest artists and athletes, it makes sense that this venture would be celeb-oriented. Then again, Amazon is an investor here too, so you never know if it will get released to the public someday. (That would make this one heck of a beta test.)
In the mean time, there is an upshot for everyday people: With stars having a direct and convenient way of connecting with their public, fans get to enjoy some unique behind-the-scenes pics and impressions they might not otherwise get to see.
Want to peek at the decidedly unglamorous movie prep that poor Tom “Hanx” goes through? Or if Demi Lovato has kicked that eating disorder’s butt, to be both healthy and bikini-ready for summer? These aren’t press photos or airbrushed images either. Well okay, some of them are, but there are a lot of candid shots too. There are iPhone and Android apps for the service, which explains why so many cell phone pics get uploaded. The result? People get to see their favorite idols in “real life” — wrinkles, pimples, blurriness and all. Just like everyone else.
And you know what? Those bad shots are an oddly good thing. With fans sifting through photos like they’re flipping through friends’ party pics, it humanizes those well-known but no-longer-flawless faces. I mean, when you see how Chelsea Handler runs her office when the After Lately cameras are off, it’s kind of hard not to love her even more, no?
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