social media

Why did Russell Brand quit social media?

Why did Russell Brand quit social media?, Kettle Mag, Sam Fearnley
Written by Sam Fearnley

Russell Brand has abandoned all his social media sites. He made the announcement during the final instalment of his socio-political comedy web series: ‘The Trews’, which he will also be quitting.

In the eleven minute video, Brand explains in his well-known, existential style that he needs to take time out so that he can spend time ‘learning, developing, understanding’.

“So I’m not going to be doing ‘The Trews’. I’m not going to be on Twitter or Facebook. I’m going to be learning because I know real change is coming and I want to be a part of that.”

He is unlikely to be quitting because he feels the show has been unsuccessful: many of his YouTube videos gain hundreds of thousands of views.

His social media presence is also strong: three and a half million ‘likes’ on Facebook and 10.7 million Twitter followers. His ex-wife Katy Perry does, however, dwarf him in this regard, with 74.5 million Twitter followers.

Mixed Reactions

As usual, Twitter showcased a variety of reactions to Brand’s announcement of his hiatus, but most were sadness that he will no longer be updating his online presence.

The passionate socialist did seem to imply that it was not the total end, saying “I think we’ve gone as far as we can with the Trews for now”, as well as “Trew be continued” right at the end of the video.

He also said that part of his decision to quit was based on portrayals of him in the media, and that he had received ‘incredible condemnation’ from them.

Brand is a particularly contentious character, and has been in the press most recently for supporting Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour party, as well as for criticising the minute’s silence held for victims of the massacre in Tunisia.

His hiatus will surprise many, given that he has been able to ride out many an unflattering story. Several conservative press outlets have given brand a tough time over the last few years, but it seems he has had enough.

Brand will undoubtedly miss his ‘Trews’ web series. With it, he helped to save a housing estate in East London from American Investors who threatened to evict dozens of families to build a luxury apartment development.

The final video was produced just like the others, with Brand in casual clothes, sitting on his bed in his Shoreditch flat. The endearing nature of many of his videos is perhaps one of the reasons his audience was captivated for so long.

Many YouTubers manage to achieve more views than Brand, but bringing politics and the economy into the minds of younger generations is hard, especially when there is such easier content to watch. Brand is creditied by many for bringing people closer to politics and empowering people to make positive changes. Comments about Brand’s announcement have so far have ben overwhelmingly positive. 

A large part of his status as a bastion of equality originates from the way people view him. Many see him as approachable and personable, and as someone you can trust. As with most vloggers and internet celebrities, a big part of this approach comes from talking to people in your own home.

In fact, it is perhaps quite contradictory: the interaction between Brand and his fans is such a personal yet detached relationship. 

Despite this, it is one that many of his fans will miss.