Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Facebook wants to make money. In fact, now that it’s a public company with shares trading on the NASDAQ, Facebook needs to make money. With over 1 billion users worldwide, Facebook knows its way to profitability is finding ways to wring money out of you and me.
The company has been experimenting with various different methods for doing this. One of which involves charging users to send a private message to someone not on their list of friends. Whether these experiments lead to any permanent change of policy remains to be seen, but the fact is it could cost you to contact someone through Facebook now and in the future.
Thankfully Facebook is far from the only game in town. As newspapers have found when they have tried to charge people for access to their online editions, if there is a viable free alternative then only the most dedicated and/or ignorant people will pay the asking price.
What follows is a list of several ways to contact celebrities and famous people without having to put money in the pockets of Mark Zuckerberg and company.
Any celebrity worth their salt is on Twitter (even dead ones), and with good reason. The micro-blogging social network allows famous people to connect with their fans in a real way while remaining at arm’s length at all times. The A-lister will likely have other people tweeting for them, but mid-range celebs are generally present in person.
The obvious plus side to using Twitter to contact a celebrity is that anyone can do it, as long as they’ve also got a Twitter account. The flipside is that this means you’re likely to get missed or ignored by said celebrity owing to the sheer number of people who message them or reply to their tweets.
If you’re determined to get a response then tweet when your chosen celeb is online and active, be persistent but not annoying, and don’t expect too much in return. Twitter is most suitable when you just want to tell a celebrity you’re a fan or pass on a similar platitude.
You won’t find many Hollywood A-listers on LinkedIn, as its focus is more on professionals looking to make business connections. So, while actors and musicians struggling to break through into the mainstream will find the site useful, those who are already in demand generally won’t.
However, LinkedIn is useful for contacting a different type of celebrity. Thought leaders, CEOs, scientists, journalists, and politicians can all be found on LinkedIn, and can be just as famous as whatever pop group is topping the charts on any given week.
Using LinkedIn to contact a celebrity without prior invitation to do so takes courage, and it may not win you any friends. But by keeping the message friendly, concise, and to the point, you may well get a response from your celeb of choice.
Before social networking sites were even ever a thing, the forward-looking celebrities booked their place on the Internet with an official website. They’re still of the utmost importance to famous people looking to manage their presence on the Web. Some official websites are small, subtle affairs, while others are epic vistas of news updates, images, videos, and forums. Look at these brilliant band websites, as an example.
These official websites of the rich and famous can be good ways to get in touch with the celebrities that own them, though the higher up the pecking order you go, the less chance you’ll have of encountering the actual celeb in question. Instead you’ll be dealt with by staff members paid to keep the proles away from their employer. Still, if you build a rapport with the moderators there’s a chance of receiving early access to content or even an invite to a film premiere or album launch.
If your celebrity of choice doesn’t have an official website (or even if they do, but it sucks) then don’t worry, as there is sure to be a fan site or two lurking somewhere online. These are domains run by the biggest fans, many of whom are borderline stalkers. While this would scare me if I were a celebrity, it’s good for fellow fans who want to find information on how to get in contact with the said celeb.
If there is an easy way to contact your chosen celebrity than an uber-fan (who are the people who primarily inhabit fansites) will have found it. Fan site forums are especially good for asking for help in passing a message on to the famous person you have an (unhealthy?) interest in. Just try not to display any personality traits that will scare people off helping you.
It’s not always easy to find the agency or individual who represents a particular celebrity. If you do a Web search for “Insert Celebrity Name” followed by “Agent” you may get lucky, but you’re more likely to be hit with results for other companies who will act as middlemen to put you in touch with your celeb of choice. Your only choice is to keep digging until you find a lead.
Trying to contact a celebrity through an agent isn’t the right method for someone just looking to say “I’m your biggest fan, please sign this!” Instead, it’s meant for those who have business proposals or formal messages to pass on. So, unless you have a venue for a band to play in, or a film script for an actor to read, this method of contacting celebrities should be used with caution.
As you can see there is very little reason to pay what Facebook is asking you to pay for the privilege of using its service to contact celebrities. Unless the famous person you want or need to get in touch with isn’t on Twitter or LinkedIn, has no official site or fansite, and doesn’t list the agent they employ then Facebook has no justification for charging a fee.
What do you think of Facebook introducing a fee for users contacting celebrities? Do you think it’s a fair way of recouping money for the service it provides? Or is it a ludicrous attempt to prey on deluded fans? Do you know of any other ways people can contact celebrities for free? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Mark Vegas