Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to post short messages, called tweets, that can be seen by anyone who follows them or searches for relevant keywords. Twitter is also a popular tool for celebrities who want to communicate with their fans without giving away too much personal information. In this blog post, I will review the article Twitter as a Way for Celebrities to Communicate with Fans by Stever and Lawson (2013), which analyzes how 12 entertainment media celebrities use Twitter to interact with their fans and what implications this has for the study of parasocial interaction.
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What is Parasocial Interaction?
Parasocial interaction is a term that describes the one-sided relationship that fans develop with media personalities, such as actors, singers, or athletes. Fans feel a sense of intimacy and attachment with their favorite celebrities, even though they do not know them personally or receive any feedback from them. Parasocial interaction can have positive effects, such as providing entertainment, emotional support, or inspiration, but it can also have negative effects, such as creating unrealistic expectations, reducing social skills, or causing addiction.
How do Celebrities Use Twitter?
Stever and Lawson (2013) used a grounded theory approach to examine the Twitter accounts of 12 celebrities, six males and six females, from different genres and levels of fame. They collected and coded tweets from 2009 to 2012 and identified four main themes: work-related tweets, personal tweets, fan-related tweets, and other-celebrity tweets. They found that all celebrities used Twitter to communicate both with other celebrities and with fans about their work and personal lives, revealing information that was not usually shared in other media outlets. They also found that some celebrities used Twitter more frequently and interactively than others, depending on their personality, style, and goals.
How does Twitter Enhance Parasocial Interaction?
The authors argued that Twitter can be used to learn more about parasocial interaction, as it provides a unique opportunity for fans to connect with celebrities in a direct and informal way. They suggested that Twitter can enhance parasocial interaction by increasing the perceived similarity, intimacy, and reciprocity between celebrities and fans. However, they also acknowledged that Twitter does not change the fundamental nature of parasocial interaction, as it is still a one-sided and unbalanced relationship. They concluded that Twitter is a serious and meaningful form of communication that has an impact on both celebrities and fans.
What are the Benefits and Risks of Using Twitter for Celebrities and Fans?
I think this article is interesting and informative, as it provides a detailed and nuanced analysis of how celebrities use Twitter to communicate with fans. I agree with the authors that Twitter can enhance parasocial interaction by creating a sense of closeness and involvement between celebrities and fans. I also think that Twitter can have positive effects on both parties, such as increasing awareness, engagement, and satisfaction.
However, I also think that Twitter can have negative effects on both parties, such as creating pressure, conflict, or disappointment. I think that both celebrities and fans should be aware of the benefits and risks of using Twitter and use it responsibly and respectfully. Some of the benefits and risks are:
- For celebrities: Twitter can help them promote their work, build their brand, connect with their peers, express their opinions, show their personality, reach new audiences, receive feedback, gain insights, raise awareness for causes they care about.
- For fans: Twitter can help them access exclusive information.