How Has Social Media Affected the Relationship Between Celebrities and Fans?

Topics: Twitter, Web 2.0, Social network service Pages: 5 (2006 words) Published: May 29, 2013
How has social media affected the relationship between celebrities and fans? These days it seems that the Internet, a post-modern medium, something so complex and vital to our society as being reduce to a mere antiquity of personal feuds and interactive relationships (or at least the satisfaction of what seems like a relationship) between people. The rise of social media applications like Twitter and Facebook allows people to voice their opinions to wider audience, creating a pluralist, postmodern medium in which questions raised about the impact of mediated relationships have surely increased. What is particularly interesting about Twitter (and to a lesser extent Facebook) is the newfound proximity we ‘normal people’ have to modern celebrities. These Celebrities once performed their professional duties at a distance and were only accessible through one-way relationships; third parties such as tabloids, TV shows, and interviews. Now, however they are within our reach. Newsstand and tabloids enjoyed being filled with negative portrayal of celebrities: Twitter acts as a way for celebrities let their fans know what is happening in their lives, circumventing (equally) biased third parties, and allowing them to portray their own Star Persona. On the surface it seems as though the use of Twitter is bringing celebrities and their fans closer together by bypassing the filter of the media and conducting a “direct” conversation. Questions remain, however, about the authenticity of the celebrities’ image established and sustained on Twitter. An article by Prof Laura Portwood-Stacer stated that Denver Bronco’s wide receiver Eddie Royal has over 100,000 likes on Facebook and has surpassed 50,000 Twitter followers not by being a great athlete, but through the “connection” with his followers, posting often enough and almost always offering something personal to the fans: a video shoutout, a picture, and the most popular, free tickets to a Broncos game, the article went on to state that Royal has a “social media coach” named Jeff Weiner whose motto is that his clients should interact consistently with followers and engage with them on video, using these social networking sites in a strategic way to help cultivate and maintain a healthy fan base through creating the illusion of first-person glimpses into their lives, a personal relationship: This is a perfect example of the postmodernity of the Internet. The master narrative of the established “dead tree press” of newspapers and magazines has been rejected, in favour of the pluralism and freedom of interactivity that the internet provides. Celebrities can now be portrayed as “normal people we could have relationships with”, Jean Baudrillard posits that we are living in a word of “hyper-reality” constructed largely of surface media images that challenges and undermines modernist notions of reality and truth. The problem is the presentation of the Star Persona as the ‘real’ person, and the Twitter users’ ability to distinguish reality from this constructed ‘simulation’ of the celebrity as they are intertwined together, creating the possibility of losing sight of where one ends and the other begins. It could also be argued that Twitter and other social media networks do not create the private relationships that they appear to, rather an open, mass media one. The familiarisation of celebrities can only be attained if the fan realises that they belong to a large group of fans, a fandom, and are not having a personal relationship but more like an impersonal relationship with the stars. The relationship between star and fandom is symbiotic which both celebrity and fan need and benefit from, They help them meet new business and social contacts, or reconnect with old friends. With so many celebrities starting to use Twitter and other sites, they help their Fans keep up with their favourite stars and what they're doing at that exact moment in time, which helps maintain their popularity with...
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