Barbra Streisand's Instagram debut

23:49, Aug 16 2014
Barbra Streisand

First of all, let me just put a disclaimer out there - I am a BIG fan of Barbra Streisand (no real surprises there, eh?), and I have nothing against cute dogs.

But even Streisand's most ardent fans were feeling a little bemused about the 73-year-old's debut on Instagram this week, featuring her fluffy pooch named Samantha.

The acclaimed singer wrote: "Hello Instagram... isn't my Samantha just precious?"

But it wasn't the ball of white fluff called Samantha who the world was looking at, but rather the ball of blonde glamour sitting next to her named Barbra.

The heavily art-directed image showed the singer sitting on a brilliant-white cushion atop a wicker garden chair plonked in the centre of her perfect Beverly Hills lawn and wearing a spotless monochromatic ensemble, her picture-perfect hair framing an almost ethereal looking, wrinkle-free face, her legs wrapped up beside her to show a pair of suspiciously clean black stilettos (was she carried to the chair?).

Having won two Academy Awards and eight Grammy Awards, not to mention the Emmys and Tony Awards, this icon of the showbiz world was soon reduced to a glorified Kardashian in the stormy waters of social media, with everything from her outfit to the apparent photo-shopping of her face being scrutinised and - inevitably - ridiculed.


Clearly Babs had no clue as to what she was getting herself in for by launching in such a way on Instagram. Indeed, she hails from a generation of celebrities which predates the likes of Instagram, Facebook or Twitter... and it shows.

She is a celebrity who is probably more accustomed to adulation from her adoring fans rather than being exposed to the vitriol of online trolls.

Kudos to her for giving Instagram a go, indeed she is making a concerted effort to maintain her loyal fan base via a new media platform.

But perhaps she is trying just a bit too hard.

Image-control and stage management is the natural enemy of social media. Indeed, one of the beauties of social media is in its apparent spontaneity and intimacy with the likes of the Streisands of this world for us mere mortals.

Babs could learn a thing or two from a few other, more, ahem, seasoned celebrities about how they tackle social media, like Cher.

A prolific Tweeter who appears well versed in the dark art of SMS-shorthand complete with numbers for letters and the like. Among Cher's Twitter highlights was her hysterical response when a follower asked her how she celebrated pop star Madonna's birthday. Cher Tweeted back: "I got a colonic".

The late Elizabeth Taylor was another celebrity with a voracious appetite for Twitter before her death in 2011, and despite her much-reported declining health always managed to upload various positive affirmations about life and love into her timeline.

While a cynic would probably be suspicious about the authorship of such Tweets, there was no denying it was Dame Liz, who was at the keyboard she she chimed in about  plans to make a film about her life featuring Lindsay Lohan, who Tweeted back in 2010: "No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor herself!"

Judging by her Instagram debut, I get the feeling Barbra Streisand is probably thinking the same thing.

The Age