Twitter is frivolous. Witness Ashton Kutcher, who tweeted a photo of his wife's bottom just the other day.
However, that wife, Demi Moore, shifted her bottom Friday when perhaps another star might have turned the other cheek, in an act that showed Twitter has its serious uses too.
On her own Twitter feed, Ms. Moore received a message from sandieguy, an apparently unemployed woman from the Silicon Valley area: "Getting a knife, a big one that is sharp. Going to cut my arm down the whole arm so it doesn't waste time."
As if this wasn't disturbing enough, she received another message just seconds later: "gbye ... gonna kill myself now."
One suspects that many stars might have ignored these messages as just the ramblings of the sad. Instead, Ms. Moore reposted the message onto her Twitter page and wrote: "hope you are joking."
It was then that some of her 388,000 followers sprung into action. They kept calling the San Jose, Calif., police to explain the situation. The police then located the woman and took her into custody for "evaluation."
Ms. Moore then tweeted: "It is my understanding that the situation was not a joke and that through the collective efforts here, action was taken to provide help!"
The strange thing about Twitter is that it seems to play a far more significant and effective role in the toughest of situations. You can see Demi Moore's bottom in many places. You can't always help save a life.
So perhaps it is not entirely surprising that Ms. Moore went to bed early Friday with the tweet: "Good Night Twitterers--this day has been an extraordinary. I am taking pause to reflect on all the blessings I have in my life Thank you!!"
There is much talk of how Twitter is helping stars control their own PR, rather than allow it to be dictated by the exigencies of the entertainment conglomerate mass.
But how sad would it be if, after this incident, those in need of attention (for one reason or another) began to reach out to their favorite stars for salvation on the microblogging service?
Late Friday, a tweet was left by, or on behalf of, sandieguy. It read: "Thinking that it's absolutely amazing that complete strangers love her. Bless you all and thanks, you don't know what it means."
If she had left the message on a complete stranger's Twitter page (if you read her Twitter feed, she had previously sent many messages both to Ms. Moore and Mr. Kutcher), might it be possible that sandieguy would now be dead?
How many potential suicides, kooks, attention seekers, or just plain narcissists will now emerge from their darkness to try and bathe in a little twittering limelight? And how will anyone ever be able to know which ones really need help?