In the past, fans used to write letters to their idols professing their love and loyalty in hopes they receive it. However, with the introduction of social media celebrities are much more accessible.
Before social media existed, information about celebrities were presented indirectly through magazines. This went through large amounts of editing before it ever reached the public eye.
Social media removes the need for the middle man. Information is now passed straight from the celebrity to the fans which creates an illusion of a direct relationship. This makes their followers feel as though they have a personal connection.
By communicating with their fans, celebrities in turn gain more followers online. This is because they seem to be accessible and people will realize they have a chance to engage with them.
The widespread use of social media has caused a massive growth in celebrity culture. It is now possible to get real-time updates on a celebrity’s life.
The singer is known for feeding her fan’s attention and adoration with constant updates on her social media platforms.
She often communicates with her followers through responding to their tweets, or even just liking/retweeting their comments.
Ariana has always been responsive to fans on her online platforms, managing her own accounts and maintaining a relationship with her followers. The singer occasionally has “following sprees” where she befriends as many ‘Arianators’ as possible.
Arianators were offering an impressive web of mutual support after the Manchester Area bombing back in May 2017, which occurred during Ariana’s concert. Thousands upon thousands of fans mobilized to try and offer comfort and support to their idol, further strengthening the online relationship.
Celebrities now have the career where continuous online impression management and relationship building seem to be requirements.
Some people may mix up these celebrity-fan dynamics with real friendships, however they are very different. Friendships are equal and voluntary, whereas celebrities do not get to choose their fans and the admiration is usually not mutual. The fan/celebrity dynamic might be better understood as market relationships, given that artists are selling things audiences want.
How Has Social Media Changed Fan-Celebrity Relationships?
There is no denying that the introduction of social media has completely shaken the whole celebrity/fan dynamic.
Once upon a time celebrities were expected to be distant and inaccessible, now they are supposed to be accessible and engaging.
Greta Salpeter of the American bands ‘The Hush Sound’ and ‘Gold Motel’ argues that “Stars in the ‘60s and 70s were untouchable”.
This is because there was an exclusivity complex where you knew next to nothing about them, making them seem mysterious and even more interesting.
The introduction of social media has affected the amount and expectations of communication with their audiences. If you tried to make yourself invisible and exclusive in this modern music age, people are unlikely to care.