Four Twitter lessons Kim Kardashian could learn from Helen Zille

Kim Kardashian’s now infamous divorce has dominated the Twittersphere this week. In fact, days after the announcement, the topic was still trending (her cuckolded ex-husband, Kris Humphries whom no one here had heard of until the wedding, was trending alongside his ex). Kardashian herself has contracted a serious case of denial which, when it comes to Twitter, could be fatal.

Kardashian is usually a prolific Tweeter, keeping her followers entertained with her “pearls of wisdom”. Then the divorce was announced, and all Kardashian could do was Tweet about her latest collection of handbags and Halloween outfits.

In fact, she’s been quite chipper, acknowledging the divorce only with a letter to fans on her blog that somehow still manages to punt her TV show/s. She has surrendered control of her brand completely and, as a result, no one who matters is feeling sorry for her.

Surely the reality TV star’s spin team should have suggested an approach more like that of South African opposition leader Helen Zille.

Such an approach would have been better than the current one, which positions Kardashian as a dog with its tail between its legs, running away from a large turd it’s just made on someone’s Vera Wang wedding gown. If she was more like Zille (Both, after all, are trying to build their personal brand through Twitter) she’d have done the following:

  1. Keep your enemies close: Instead of letting the media break the news, Kardashian and Humphries should have done so together, as most celebrity couples do. If she can strongarm the man into a marriage and a divorce within the space of six months, surely she could have convinced him to issue a joint statement?

    After Zille’s very public Twitter spat with South African entertainer Simphiwe Dana, she said that she accepted the valid criticism and was a fan of Dana’s work. And the spat was over.

  2. Engage and acknowledge: Kardashian claims she has received dozens of messages of support. How about re-tweeting some of them, openly thanking individual fans?

    For example, Helen Zille recently answered her followers’ questions on who to call for help over a baby that was locked in a car — less than a minute after question was posed — and where she saw herself in four years time.

  3. Admit fault: Even in 140 characters, it is possible to portray some sense of humility, sadness and regret. Kardashian has done none of the above, saying only that “God has her back”. Despite the mudslinging between Zille and Dana, the former still found it within herself to publicly say that she regrets the way some of her tweets came across.
  4. Have a sense of humour: Perhaps it’s too soon, but at some point in the next few weeks Kardashian should start lightening up a little — and this doesn’t mean wearing a brighter shade of fuchsia. Salman Rushdie wrote a rather funny limerick mocking the divorce. Kardashian should have a team of bright people around her that could pen an equally funny poem in response (Rushdie is not shy of divorce himself).

    Zille’s love of Chuck Norris jokes and witty responses to the #askhelenzille hashtag did wonders for her publicity, and may have even swayed a few voters.

Will Kardashian’s brand suffer as a result of the mishandling of her divorce? Probably not. As most commentators have said, her star is likely to rise even further (seeing as said-star first started shimmering when her sex tape came out, this isn’t surprising). Could Kardashian have done better out of all of this if she’d employed at least some of Helen Zille’s Twitter tactics? Definitely.

She could have been pitied, admired and supported, all at the same time. Instead, she’s handed over control of her brand to the likes of Rushdie and Joan Rivers, who will keep us all entertained at her expense.



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