A different kind of twitter

By Simone Angel. Simone lives in Belmopan, Belize. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments down below.

Do you know what happens when a famous person enters a room? The mood changes instantly, like the place has been doused in adrenaline. There is an electricity in the air. Everyone suddenly becomes aware of every movement that they make, what they say, and how they sound. There is this undercurrent of nervous energy that most will try to suppress, but it’s there and you can feel it. Deep down, the majority of the people in that room would like to be noticed by the famous person. Why is that?

Why do people want selfies and signatures and try to touch these “stars”? What is the reason for wanting to start fights on Twitter or spread false rumors about those in the public eye? Why do so many of us have this “love/hate” relationship with celebrities? The reason is actually quite simple. Because every single one of us has an ego. We often only associate celebrities with having an ego, but everyone on this planet is influenced by their personal ego. And there are two main things that our ego does: it either tells us that we are better than, or less than someone. The ego categorizes ‘’greater’’ and ‘’lesser’’ people. The famous person is seen as ‘’greater’’ and being worth more than others due to our societal frameworks. The ego of the person encountering this celebrity believes that by association—be it a selfie, a signature, a one-night-stand, a Twitter spat, or some other form of connection—it can itself become more.

When I was an MTV VJ, people’s reactions to me used to really confuse me and none more so than those of ‘’negative fans’’; that breed of people that these days have evolved into ‘’trolls’’. I once had one following me down the street saying,

‘‘I really hate it when I see you on TV. I always turn it off when you’re on. You are the worst of all the VJs.’’

I kept wondering why, if he hated me so much, he kept following me. But now I understand.

First of all, a negative reaction is a reaction nonetheless—this is why children like to wind up their parents, especially when they are not getting the positive attention that they crave. Second of all, by trying to put someone like me down—someone who was on television and therefore considered to be ‘’greater than’’ most—he himself could now imagine himself as ‘’greater than’’ me because he felt that he was dominating me. What an ego boost! And how pathetic! Yet, there I was, trying to stay positive, whilst someone was literally walking behind me saying,

‘‘You’re useless! You suck at your job! You have no talent!’’

This, obviously, fired up my own negative ego, the part of me that wants to tell me that I am ‘’less than’’ others. Stand-up comedian Romesh Ranganathan has a perfect name for this – he calls it his ‘’inner bastard’’. It is the part of our ego that is always lurking in the shadows, waiting to pound on us, waiting for any misstep, any outside criticism, anything that it can use as ammunition to knock us down. So, as this guy was following me and insulting me, my inner bastard chimed in,

‘’See? People hate you. You’re a fraud! You have no talent. You have no right to be on television.’’

I assume that you hear some version of this voice in your own head from time to time. That voice that tells you that you are not good enough, that you are simply unlovable. And this is the problem with being famous; a million people can tell you that you are great, but the one person that says, ‘’I hate you’’ is the one that you remember because it is the one that your inner bastard latches onto as it joins in,

‘’See? You really are useless! I told you that you had no talent.’’

Any outside criticism confirms the put-downs that your inner bastard has been throwing at you all of your life. Even a seasoned performer like Barbra Streisand still struggles with this. She got to the point where she simply stopped reading reviews and articles about herself, because even just a single point of criticism was too painful to bear.

These days, it has become virtually impossible for celebrities to escape their negative fans. They are now on their Twitter feed, on their Instagram; they are everywhere! Constantly whispering in their ears,

‘’You are useless. Nobody loves you. You have no talent.’’

I can’t even imagine what that must feel like. Thank god, I stepped out of the limelight before the age of social media. I now live a quiet and peaceful life. The only twitters that whisper in my ears are the twitters of the tropical birds here in the jungles of Belize. They tell me nothing about myself, nothing negative and nothing positive, they just are. And they are giving me, also, the chance to just be.

Now, do remember, if you ever make it into the limelight, and if people then react strongly to you—be it positively or negatively—that they are not really reacting or even seeing you, only the version of you that they have created in their own mind. It is not really who you are. And take comfort in the fact that, when they are overreacting to you, it has everything to do with them—not you—as they are doing so out of their own ego, in a desperate attempt to become more.

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

–  Aristotle

(Mic drop!)

52 comments on “A different kind of twitter

  1. Yvonne Hunt on

    Going through this at the moment with a couple of nasty people. You do not have to be famous to get negative vibes. People who try to do good also get this. Jealousy! Absolutely hate it. If you have nothing nice to say about anyone, do not anything at all. Aristotle was right.

    • simone engeln on

      Exactly! These are all very human emotions and reactions and they play out in a variety of situations. Thanks for reading and commenting, Yvonne.

    • Edith Ferrier on

      Simone you are a compassionate person and a great humanitarian. I definitely do not see you as the type to “do nothing”, “say nothing” and you “definitely are someone amazing”. Although what Aristotle wrote might fit those that listen to the “inner bastard”, and yes, famous or not famous, we all have those days and times and doubts, but I am glad we rise above that “inner bastard”.

    • Candy on

      Beautifully written and such a good reminder: “it has everything to do with them—not you.” If we can embrace kindness in all we do, perhaps the unhappiness in “them” will soften as well.

    • simone engeln on

      It’s an interesting experience, that’s for sure. I do feel blessed to have lived through it and it certainly enriched my life. So many lessons, so many memories!

  2. Dorien on

    In het nederlands. De mensen die jou bekritiseren hebben geen idee wat voor een persoonlijkheid jij bent. Ze snappen het niet. Het zegt meer over hen, dan over jou.!!!! Er zijn ook heel veel mensen die jou fantastisch vinden. En dan heb ik het niet over je moeder of je zus. Jij bent een prachtig mens. Ik ken niemand die dat kan evenaren.. My love.. mama

    • simone engeln on

      Of course, you would get me totally. You lived through it yourself! We share such a special part of our life with each other. You were an inspiration to me then and you are still an inspiration to me today. xxx

  3. Michael R Cadwell on

    Great Article!!!!
    I live by one definition of Love- Respect, Trust, Honor, Loyalty, admiration. One Love People leave your negativity elsewhere.

  4. Kristie Irving on

    I have been perplexed by this question for a while now, “why are people either over the top into celebrities or quite negative about them?” This article has finally given me the answer; Ego! Now, everything makes sense. It all has to do with one’s self.

  5. Jessica on

    Great article. I like your analysis of why trolls are trolls. Its always seems to me like it was founded in anger, but I agree with your assessment that its founded in ego and wanting an ego boost. I am also so glad not to hang my hat on the acceptance or critique of social media. I just hope I can teach my kids not to either!

    • simone engeln on

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Jessica. I think that even some trolls believe that they are writing out of anger, simply because they are unaware of the ego in them. They may well feel a hit of adrenaline when they get a reaction, but they might not understand where this adrenaline hit is coming from. It is exactly that, the ego boost. The sadder and the lonelier the person, the more they may crave those hits.

  6. Sandra on

    Interesting read. Your personal experience of how people reacted to you as a professional is also experienced by many in other professions. How one chooses to react or not, makes all the difference and speaks volumes to those who choose to point their arrows at you.

    • simone engeln on

      Thanks for reading, Sandra. And I agree that reactions like these are not only directed at famous people. However, the more visible the person, the more reactions like they may encounter. I admire those who have strong comebacks in confrontations like these, I was just never one of them.

  7. Margarita on

    I enjoyed reading this article and learning about what goes on the other side when it comes to celebrities and other people in the limelight. It’s not easy and has its very negative side. Simone writes with a lot of sensitivity and heartfelt, sound, uplifting comments .

  8. Robin Lerios on

    This is an interesting point of view. Thanks for sharing. I can relate to much of this as a “nobody” lol.
    We need to get away from scrutiny of one another and stop comparing.
    Just be you and I’ll be me.

  9. Maggie Lyons on

    Brilliant Simone👌 You capture beautifully, especially with your own story, how this plays for people in the limelight. And much more now with social media encouraging us to like or criticise! There are times when we are all ‘minor celebs’ in our lives, enjoying the adulation and yet easily ‘taken down’ by an unkind comment. We all need to be mindful of your words ….’they are not really reacting or even seeing you, only the version of you that they have created in their own mind’…..and speak with kindness, as we raise our voices ‘above the parapet’ in these troubled times! An excellent reminder thanks Simone 💖 much love to you

  10. Mona on

    Thanks for sharing your story and your perspective Simone! It is all so true and most people who ever come into that situation will only find aout looking back at that time years later….

  11. Marc on

    People always criticise their version of you, it would be wonderful if we could see it for what it really is. Articles like yours help.

  12. Alan Howard on

    Simone! God love you …. it’s nicer this side of the camera! if a troll sees they’re having an effect they’ll push further, you should read “The Chimp Paradox” .. we all have an inner chimp that goes bonkers when threatened in anyway … Sounds like you have it sorted …

  13. Eva Sengfelder on

    Great article Simone, being so public and famous, on TV or in movies or also as a model it’s hard to deal with. Sometimes even too much admiration can affect you. It can disturb and imbalance your energy field and you feel depressed and don’t even know why. Do you remember experiences like this as well? Looking forward to read more!


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