Here's Your Chance to Poke Martha Stewart

Media Mogul Launches Facebook Profile

By Published on .

At 5:20 p.m. on Monday, I became friends with Martha Stewart. I'm not sure how the relationship will go. I'm not much of a gardener, cook, horseback rider or bulldog lover. We are both Leos, but, I admit, my bathroom is filthy and I'd be happy to exist on cheeseburgers and whiskey in a world free of dried flowers, basket-weaving and wicker. I guess I don't share many of her enthusiasms. Still, I asked to be her friend and she accepted.

Or, more likely, some folks at the PR agency who manage Ms. Stewart's virtual pieds-a-terre on Facebook and MySpace did, adding me to an online flock that's growing by the day.

Though the Facebook profile is new, the MySpace profile's been around for a while. Since it launched in late July, her MySpace page has been a bit of cultivated high ground unsullied by that social network's orgy of slutty college-girl pics and shameless garage-band promoting -- an oasis where Edith Piaf's "Milord" warbles perpetually in the background and it's all photos of trips to France and the U.S. Open.

All things considered, it's quite a beachhead. The page lists more than 1,200 friends, and over 180 comments have been posted there. Some were birthday well wishes (August 3 was the big day), and many merely thank her "for the add." RicaMK, a 27-year-old from South Salem, N.Y., was representative. "You are a beautiful woman. Thank you for being my friend, Martha!"

Direct addresses to a multimedia icon like Martha via a website would seem to be about as effective as chatting up a can of Coke or a pair of Nikes, but it's not exactly known whether Martha herself will read any of the many, many comments written to her in a warm, familiar style that almost seems to expect a response. Diana Pearson, as spokeswoman for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, confirmed the pages were authentic and directed me to Ms. Stewart's personal PR agency for details about how the content is chosen. Asked for details, a staffer at Susan Magrino Agency said she would get back to me, but failed to do so by press time.

Ms. Stewart only recently joined Facebook, where she has over 80 friends. She naturally alerted her My Space community to this news, sending many of them to the smaller but ever-growing network. Among them was Trish, a sensible-looking 62-year-old from Boca Raton who recently characterized her mood as "bouncy." She wrote on MySpace, "I checked out your [Facebook] profile page and it's looking good. I also signed up and have one friend so far; you! It's different than my space but I'm getting the hang of things. I see you like a lot of the same TV shows I like which means we both make great selections. Here's to friends and I'll be chatting with you."

All in all, the Facebook page is the less busy of the two. Ms. Pearson acknowledged this, calling it a "placeholder," and promised a bigger social media initiative later in the fall. For now, we'll have to tide ourselves over with pictures of her pets or maybe a round of Pac Man. We could also join some of the groups of which Ms. Stewart is a part, like "Addicted to Yoga" or "ABSOLUTEY LOVE HORSES" or any of the many fan groups dedicated to Ms. Stewart herself. Any, that is, but for the one that, for some reason, Ms. Stewart hasn't joined: "Martha Stewart is a motherfucking 'good thing.'"
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