CNN Reports on How Twitter's Helping Porn Go Mainstream

Bob Johnson

DENVER — A new CNN report is focusing on how Twitter is helping the porn industry go mainstream.

The story points out how the social media engine has become a way for performers to bolster their careers, allowing them to “define themselves,” build their brands, and interact with fans.

Industry leaders, performers and even an academic scholar weighed in on how Twitter is changing the face of the porn industry — and helping to make it more socially acceptable.

The news organization interviewed performer James Deen, Digital Playground and Monstar/StarFactory PR’s Alexander Raymond, stars Dana DeArmond and Kayden Kross, and XBIZ executive managing editor Dan Miller.

"Twitter has opened up these porn stars fan bases like nothing the adult film industry has ever seen before," Miller said. "Since most mainstream pop culture publications don't cover the porn industry (and) porn movie reviews don't generally appear alongside reviews of big Hollywood movies ... the adult industry has embraced Twitter as a way to reach out directly to fans beyond the typical porn consumer."

Miller told CNN that he estimates 90 percent of performers use Twitter, and he thinks it’s essential that newbies embrace the service to make their mark on the industry.

"If you're not on Twitter, you are definitely at a disadvantage right out of the gate," Milller said.

The report pointed out that stars use Twitter to tweet about their everyday lives, allowing them to appear more real and approachable to mainstream.

Deen told CNN that Twitter helped him land his new film gig opposite Lindsay Lohan in “The Canyons.” "I think a lot of the mainstream thing has to do with Twitter. People look at me and they say, 'He's not a porn star, he's just a nice guy.’"

He added, "I like to keep my Twitter very personal and used as a random outlet for my feelings. I see no reason to be involved except to be myself."

Twitter has also become an instant focus group for porn pros, giving them valuable feedback for their careers

Raymond calls Twitter “an instant focus group” and said he holds seminars for performers, coaching them on setting up their accounts and how to connect with their audience. “I'm trying to establish brand loyalty, like people have for a company like Disney," Raymond said.

And social media is “profoundly changing the porn business,” according to Chauntelle Tibbals, a visiting scholar at University of Southern California who studies the porn industry and believes Twitter helps break down porn stereotypes.

"Before it was about pure fantasy: you didn't have enough information to be real fans of performers," she said. "But now you can become a true fan of a porn star."

DeArmond, who’s gotten nicknamed “the Internet’s girlfriend” by letting followers “pretend” she’s their girlfriend, said the porn industry is an "ever-changing animal" and performers must evolve and become more approachable to their fans.

"Porn is not a utilitarian thing; if it were there would already have been enough porn made forever," she said. "People have a connection to it and Twitter helps me make that connection," DeArmond said.

Kross tweets more about her intellectual pursuits and her writing than porn, but told CNN, "I was largely unsuccessful up until Twitter came along because I'm very shy ... and it came through in my movies. But with Twitter, people see a different side of me and they see it in my movies."

Deen weighed in, "The way the world is going, you have to be able to communicate with your market, know about your demographic, know what people are clicking on and then communicate back to them.”

Scholar Tibbals summed it up best. She said, “Social media has the power to change how the public views porn stars, and it may ultimately make porn more mainstream and socially acceptable.”

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