CNY Central, a local Syracuse news station interviewed Syracuse University School of Information Studies Professor of Practice Anthony Rotolo and graduate student Alyssa Henry G’12 on how actor Charlie Sheen gained a large following immediately after joining Twitter.

“Charlie Sheen is now approachable, like anyone on Twitter — in theory,” Rotolo said. “And that is a great attraction — for people to follow something that’s a hot topic, like Charlie Sheen is right now.”

Sheen, the highest paid actor on television for his role in the situational comedy “Two and a Half Men” has been in entertainment news recently due to his erratic behavior. Though Sheen amassed a large number of followers very quickly when he joined Twitter, Henry said she wouldn’t be joining the crowd.

“I do not follow Charlie Sheen and I made a conscious decision not to follow Charlie Sheen,” said Henry. “I like to follow people who make real contributions intellectually to society and I’m not sure if Charlie Sheen is contributing that right now.”

Rotolo added that the negative attention toward Sheen might be fueling his rapid growth on Twitter.

“If someone has a negative opinion of Charlie Sheen, they might follow very much what we might call the Howard Stern effect where folks who didn’t like Howard Stern may have ended up listening to him longer than the people who did back when he was the controversial, hot topic,” said Rotolo.

Rotolo holds a B.S. in Information Management and Technology and a M.S. in Information Management, both from the Syracuse University iSchool. In May 2009, he received the iSchool Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, and in December, he received the Web-based Information Science Education Consortium’s 2009 Excellence in Online Education Award. He is also the co-founder of, a creative agency specializing in social media, animation and interactive content.