Recording artist James Blunt says his record label, Atlantic Records, created a Twitter account for him in 2009 and then immediately told him to stop tweeting after he engaged with lay critics and trolls on the platform.
A scan of Blunt’s timeline–yes, he’s still tweeting–yields mostly clever if not harmless retorts to critics:
Blunt’s timeline is not just witty remarks. He still dutifully tweets promotional material, but because it is mixed with humor and sometimes biting commentary, he is an entertaining follow. But Blunt told RadioTimes.com that Atlantic Records was not happy with his approach and “immediately asked me to stop [tweeting] as it opened Pandora’s box.”
It seems Atlantic Records doesn’t understand that Twitter itself is a Pandora’s box of sorts, but the most successful musicians use it as an engagement platform and not strictly a PR machine. Lady Gaga interacts with her fans (albeit less acerbically than Blunt) and still sends out some brutally honest tweets, along with the expected PR. Questlove is also adept at Twitter and still pokes fun at fans once in a while.
Even Twitter funnyman Ricky Gervais noticed Blunt’s wit on the platform.
“I thought: I am not going to take [Twitter] seriously; I am going to laugh at them and I am going to laugh at myself. So as soon as I was on Twitter I started doing that,” Blunt said. That’s exactly what makes Blunt likable and why Atlantic Records appears overly cautious and out of touch by asking him to stop.
Blunt may have the last laugh, though. With over 920,000 followers, it’s hard to argue with his strategy.