I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to write about Charlie Sheen. After all, I'm tasked with monitoring the latest web trends, including online buzz about Twitter tweets, the hottest viral videos, and now a drugged-up actor with delusional thoughts, Internet access, and too much time on his hands.
Most recently, Charlie set the world record for reaching a million followers faster than anyone else (take that Ashton). In a little more than 25 hours Sheen hit that mark, and now he's closing in on 2 million. I'll admit it, I followed him as soon as he got verified, hoping he would shed some light on his recent rampage, beyond the bright lights of TV.
He certainly has the recipe for success online. He's fearless. He's funny. He gets hashtags (watch #winning and #tigerblood for more). While some people would fear the Internet audience, he's embracing us with open arms. Whether you want Sheenisms from Winnipeg-based Livethesheendream.com or a good laugh as late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon mocks the sitcom star on YouTube, Charlie's time off is turning him into a web sensation.
While he's an obvious train wreck, unlike other Hollywood horrors (think Lindsay Lohan), Charlie clearly has digital pride. His tweets are overly energetic (could be the drugs) and his personal pics indicate he's "winning" the race against, well, I guess himself.
A friend of mine recently tweeted that we should leave Charlie alone. After all, the guy is an emotionally unstable addict. At first I was in agreement, but after watching him rage on I'm not sure he deserves our sympathy. There are more important things in the world to worry about, whether it's the situation in Libya or problems in our own backyard.
For now, I keep wondering what Charlie will do next. Perhaps he's enjoying real access to his "fans" for the first time, without a publicist in the way. Maybe he's wallowing in his new Internet freedom, without studio execs telling him what to do and what to say. Whatever his plans, it's clear that primetime TV is no longer shaping Charlie's future. He's now entered into the wild west online, with a million-plus online audience fuelling his flame.