How Social Media Precipitates aNew Wave of Fan CultureA Look Into the SymbioticRelationship Between Fans andCelebrities Through the Lens of By: Dustin McManusSocial Media Platforms Junior, UNC Chapel Hill
Dustin McManusIntroduction Junior, UNC Chapel Hill• Born in Charlotte, NC Interests: Entertainment Journalism• Worked for Fashion
Society’s burgeoning obsession with celebrity-focused media
Entertainment Media Outlets• Over the past decade, the media has shifted a good deal of attention to covering celebrity culture due to popular audience demand through tabloids, gossip sites and television networks solely devoted to the topic.
Fan Culture• With evolving technologies, including social media platforms, the every day individual shares a link with the celebrity allowing them to: ▫ Promote and shape public opinion ▫ Communicate amongst other fans ▫ Market the celebrity’s product/career ▫ Disseminate information, news & rumors Social media applications & online communication “may signal a power shift in the culture industry from producers to consumers, or fans.” -Kelli S. Burns
Online Fan Sites & Chat Forums• The premise of this study revolves around observing the activity of these sites and the effect this unique form of communication possesses. ▫ Two Important Factors: 1. Simplicity in creating and sharing news & info 2. Inherent ability to attract an audience“It is these two dimensions – a form of cultural production and a form ofpublic engagement and exchange – that make social networks simultaneouslya media and communication form.” - P. David Marshall
Celebrity Social Media Presence ObservedBritney Spears: “I’m Miss bad Lady Gaga: “I’m your biggestmedia karma, another day fan, I’ll follow you until youanother drama.” - Piece of Me love me.” - Paparazzi
What my observations of Britney Spears’ and Lady Gaga’sonline social media presence unveiled about mass mediatechnologies and communication.New technologies are “used to generate new texts in newways, and this in turn results in an expansion of fannishbehavior.” -Karen Hellekson & Kristina Busse
Britney Spears & BreatheHeavy• Fans posting on her online fan site BreatheHeavy and its chat forum, Exhale, were successful in aggregating news and rumors about Spears’ negotiations to join the reality singing show “The X- Factor” for its second season.• Creating forums and tweeting about this news led to many mainstream news outlets, such as E! Online, picking up on the story and reporting on it further.• Spears has yet to make any public statement regarding these negotiations, leaving the initial dissemination of news and any updates regarding her career move in the hands of individuals utilizing social media.
Lady Gaga & Gaga Daily• After an interview with Oprah Winfrey claiming she was retiring from mainstream media interviews, Lady Gaga’s fan site Gaga Daily has been responsible for keeping the celebrity’s image and persona in the public eye.• Fans of Gaga are posting on her site and tweeting information regarding the singer’s upcoming “Born This Way Ball” tour and rumors involving her upcoming album release.• Lady Gaga herself has taken to her Twitter account to announce the official tour dates and the below promotional poster.
Conclusions• Fans are adopting social media platforms to serve as quasi-public relations teams for these celebrities, marketing their various career moves and releasing this information to a broader audience.• These social media platforms are active preserving a media presence for these two stars who have sworn off much of their own self- promotion, leaving it in the hands of fans.• Reveals the clout social media possesses in acting as a considerable & rapid news source (breaking news of Spears’ involvement with “The X-Factor”) and as a promotional tool (Gaga’s tour updates).• Social media allows for communication not just among like-minded fans, but between the fans and the celebrity themselves, creating a strong symbiotic relationship and sense of interconnectivity that both parties benefit from.
Growth of Social Media as a News Outlet While the majority of adults still rely on traditional media outlets to receive their news, social media and online platforms are gaining in momentum. Check out this photo illustration of just how social media is usurping the ways we get news:http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/social-media-news3.gif
The following list contains the top10 Twitter trending topics in 2011.Both Lady Gaga and BritneySpears appear in the top 10 atnumbers 3 and 8 respectively.Gaga was the #2 trending topic inmusic for the year, while Spearswas #5.
Twitter StatisticsBritney Spears’ rapid ascent to Lady Gaga’s skyrocketing1 million followers in 2009. followers today.• It took just 3 months for Spears to become • Gaga’s rapid growth in followers over a one of the first people to reach 1 million month this past year to solidify her ranking followers in early 2009, becoming the most as the reigning person with the most followed person on the site at that time. followers on the site.
Four WebsitesBreatheHeavy Gaga Daily• The official fan site for pop star • The official fan site for pop star Lady Britney Spears that updates daily with Gaga that functions similarly to content and news regarding Spears Spears’ with news updates regarding and possesses the chat forum Exhale Gaga and with chat forums for fans to for fans to communicate about Spears discuss their favorite celebrity in. and with each other.• http://www.breatheheavy.com/ • http://gagadaily.com/
Four Websites Cont: TwitterBritney Spears’ Twitter account Lady Gaga’s twitter account• Britney Spears’ official Twitter account was • Lady Gaga’s official Twitter account was examined to see how the pop star interacted analyzed to understand how she utilized it as a with fans, how news spread of her potential marketing tool to promote her upcoming gig on “The X-Factor” and how fans created world tour, the way she kept a presence in the numerous trending topics about media after swearing off interviews and how her, including trending her album title fans created numerous trending topics “Femme Fatale” as a worldwide trending topic regarding Gaga’s upcoming birthday that for two weeks straight. trended worldwide.• https://twitter.com/#!/britneyspears • https://twitter.com/#!/ladygaga
Four Videos• Britney Spears Announces South American Femme Fatale Tour ▫ Spears tweeted this video out directly to her fans and followers in 2011 to announce that she was bringing her Femme Fatale Tour to South America for the first time. ▫ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_Bt6NwD4FY• Lady Gaga’s – Google Chrome Commercial HD ▫ Lady Gaga’s television spot for the launch of Google’s new social media network, Google Chrome. ▫ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVbXrubQpa0
Four Videos Cont.• Eminem – Stan (Long Version) ft. Dido ▫ Music video for Eminem’s song “Stan” which is about an obsessed fan who kills himself after Eminem fails to respond to his attempts to reach out to him. The song was released in 2002 before this current boom of social media, but the word “stan” which is an amalgamation of “stalker” and “fan” has been adopted by many hardcore fan bases for different celebrities, such as Britney Spears and Lady Gaga ▫ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOMhN-hfMtY• Social Media Revolution 3 (4:15 version via Erik Qualman) ▫ Based on the best-selling book Socialnomics, this video details and highlights shocking statistics regarding social media in today’s society. ▫ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0EnhXn5boM