'NCIS': Pauley Perrette makes friends, feels empowered, on Twitter
Fans of CBS' Tuesday-night hit "NCIS" know Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto, the sweet-natured scientist with the Goth fashion style who runs the crime lab for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service team led by Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon, on right with Perrette below).
But Twitter users also know her as @PauleyP, an enthusiastic and upbeat presence with almost 140,000 followers. Recently, CBS sponsored a panel discussion on how its stars use Twitter, and Perrette shared some of her tweeting philosophy and experience.
How she got onto Twitter: "I started off, I have a YouTube channel, and I kept getting impersonated. I wasn't on Facebook; I wasn't on Twitter; I wasn't on anything. It's so funny, because the name of my band is Stop Making Friends. It's like a joke about the social network. I even had a whole entire YouTube video that had been seen thousands of times of me going, 'I am not on Twitter; I am not on Facebook,' because I kept getting impersonated all the time.
"Then, random, this seems like a non sequitur, but this women's and children's shelter that is very close to my heart in Sylmar was closing. We take people off downtown streets of L.A. and put them in this beautiful place. We have got about 100 women and 75 kids and about 90 elderly people there, and it was closing. I was freaking out. I talked to my pastor, I'm like, 'What do we do? What do we do?'
"And then my friend from church is like, 'You should start a Twitter account.' 'No, no, no, Stop Making Friends, that's not me, that's not me.' ... But we started Twitter, and through that, and then a couple other things that happened, we raised $2.5 million in 48 hours, saved the shelter.
"With that much more money, we moved a bunch more people into the shelter. Instead of the shelter closing, we were able to afford that."
On the way she feels about Twitter now: "I became a Tweetaholic, and I hold nothing back. I tweet for 'NCIS,' because I love my show. It's my favorite show in the world. I'm a total fan addict.
"I started this thing, like I do thematic tweeting wherever I go. Because my people are all around the world, I had everybody in every country in the world do the 'I love you' sign, from every country in the world, which was insane. It was crazy how it all came back.
"So, I went from being like, 'I'm never going to do this,' to 'OK, I'll do it for the shelter,' to literally I'm just, like, never not doing this" -- she mimes thumb-typing -- "all the time."
On turning the tables on her fans: "I rescue dogs. So, I'm like, 'Send me a picture of your dog.' Hundreds of thousands. I love any puppy or kitten. I am a softie -- but then I like to look around their houses, too. You look at what they are doing.
"But what has kind of turned the tables on that, is that we were are in their house every night. They are looking at us in their living rooms, so I get to see their living room, which is fun."
On feeling empowered through social media: "When you're in the public eye, and you're a celebrity, it is really, really dehumanizing, and it is also really frightening, because you have no control over anything.
"Social networking has given us the power back; it really has. I will be, like, 'Hey, those naked pictures of me on eBay are totally fake. I have never taken one.' Now I just say it. I just say it to everybody. Now. 'They are fakes. Yeah, they are fakes.' That just happened to me.
"And then whatever anything that you read, or somebody else writes, whatever, I immediately can put the correct information out there by myself. I don't have to call anybody. I don't have to do anything. That, as a celebrity, was really empowering to me, to be able to combat lies about yourself."
On getting co-star Michael Weatherly on Twitter, even though he isn't on Twitter: "I have a hashtag called #MichaelWeatherlyQuotes , so he doesn't have to be on Twitter. He's so funny. Everything that comes out of his mouth is so funny. So I do Michael Weatherly quotes, and then I just repeat everything he says all the time.
"But one of the Michael Weatherly quotes was, 'I think Twitter takes a very specific personality. So, we're just going to let Pauley do it for everybody.'"
(At right, Michael Weatherly)
On why she won't respond to fans on Twitter: "This sounds insane, but it's my life -- I have a stalker problem, like, actually, a big stalker problem, like five restraining orders against one nut.
"So, I'm with the LAPD Stalking Squad. I'm one of their greatest clients. So when I was like that, my detective, Martha, said, 'Absolutely not. You are not getting into that. That is not safe.' I do whatever they tell you. So, we set up rules, there, too, and one of mine is I don't re-tweet, and I don't respond.
"After a while, there are more people, like -- you know the ones, 20 times normal -- 'I love you. I'm going to keep writing. Respond, respond.'
"I'm very honest with my fans all the time. I say, 'Look, I have stalkers. I have a big security problem, and per the orders of the LAPD, I cannot re-tweet you, and I cannot respond directly to anything you're saying.'
"So I don't respond directly. Say a subject is brought up that interests me, or especially some tragedy, like with Norway or something -- which I find out about (on Twitter) before it is on the news, of course, I will start Tweeting about that. But not directly to a certain person.
"I will take what they are talking about and then talk about it myself. Plus, I tell fans all the time -- '10 billion of you guys are awesome, but there is one nut job out there that is going to ruin it for everybody; always is.'"