Celebrities' Latest Must-Have: Twitter

Usually, Hollywood sets the trend: the week-long juice fast, the handbag almost as big as the starlet carrying it. Once in a while, it latches on late.

That's the case with Twitter. Over the past few months, an account with the social network, long a favorite of Silicon Valley, has muscled its way onto the A-List's list of must-haves, along with a self-named liquor and signature fragrance.

Lance Armstrong, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, P. Diddy, Martha Stewart, John Mayer, Ellen Degeneres, Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho, Jimmy Fallon and Perez Hilton count themselves among the celebrity "Twitterati," updating accounts themselves or sometimes, employing ghost Twitterers/assistants to do the dirty work for them.

VIDEO: Lance Armstrong leaves hospital
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Armstrong and Kutcher thrust Twitter further into the spotlight this week when the bike racer used it to update his fans about the status of his collarbone injury and the actor used it to update his fans about the status of his wife's age-defying behind.

Twitter mania has reached into some of the loftiest levels of society. Britain's Queen Elizabeth tweets, with the help of royal staffers . And Barack Obama, who began twittering during the election campaign, issued the first presidential tweet this week.

Why has Twitter eclipsed blogging as the rich and famous' choice form of fan communication? According to Griffin, star of "My Life on the D-List," Twitter's 140-character per message limit is perfect for scatterbrained celebrities.

"I think that is key to celebrity-dom, because if you let celebrities go on and on, you'll have a list that's longer than anything anyone wants to read," she said. "It puts a limit on celebrities' verbiage."

"It's really proving that the ADD of society has gone so far that we can't even pay attention to blogs anymore," said fellow comedian Cho. While her tweets may be limited in length, they're not limited in scope.

"I Twitter about gross stuff like bowel movements, the state of my intestines. It's a very dramatic opera, me and my intestines," she said. "I have no boundaries. I have no need to censor my twitters. I don't feel weird having everyone know I have diarrhea."

Whether it's updating followers (people who sign up to receive status updates) about one's digestive tract or holding spur-of-the moment scavenger hunts to give away goodies to fans, celebrities harness their Twitter followings in myriad ways.

Twitter: Good for Giveaways, Random Musings

"I've used it to give away tickets. I've used it to hold contests," said Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. "Sometimes it's late at night and I don't have an idea of what would be a good movie to watch, so I ask people on Twitter and within five minutes I have 10 suggestions."

Navarro returns the favor, too. Earlier this week, in response to a fan, he tweeted, "Best thing for a Vicodin withdrawal ... Season 1 of "Flight Of the Conchords," referring to the cult favorite HBO show.

"It's a way to bypass all the bulls**t," Navarro went on. "It's great to have an immediate way to respond to something that's happening that isn't some lofty blog entry. There are arguments that Twittering is just like screaming into an empty vacuum, but the reality is that the people who are following you want to hear what you have to say."

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