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Fan/celebrity interactions and social media: connectivity and engagement in Lady Gaga fandom

Bennett, Lucy 2014. Fan/celebrity interactions and social media: connectivity and engagement in Lady Gaga fandom. In: Duits, Linda, Zwann, Koos and Reijnders, Stijn eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures, Ashgate, pp. 109-120.

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With over twenty six million followers on Twitter, a fan following on Facebook of over fifty two million and a dedicated fan base on YouTube, American recording artist Lady Gaga is a timely exponent of how social media can be used as a tool by modern celebrities to connect and further mobilise their fan base. This chapter explores how Gaga fans, known as Little Monsters, are connecting with the star through social media platforms and ruminates on how the relationship between fan and celebrity is currently being affected by these new media forms. Building on work by Marwick and boyd (2011), and drawing on an online survey of Gaga fans that received 156 respondents, this chapter seeks to unravel the motivations and aspirations surrounding the online relationship between Gaga and her followers, adding valuably to our understandings of fan/celebrity relations . The study questions how fans perceive what could be termed as a ‘public private’ (Marshall 2010) self of the star positioned at the forefront of her Twitter postings, how engagement between celebrity and fan is negotiated and how fans subsequently understand their positioning amongst millions of followers on these social platforms. I argue that, in some instances, such as with Gaga and her fan community, the advent and widespread use of social media by stars is reconfiguring levels of connection and depths of engagement between both celebrity and their associated fan communities. As this chapter and responses from the fan survey will show, Lady Gaga is skilfully using the social media platforms in such a way that not only combines public/private elements of herself, but also speaks directly to her fans as fellow partners alongside her, who are positioned as making an integral contribution to her work. This process works to encourage, within some fans, powerful feelings of direct connection and importance, despite being one amongst millions of followers.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Publisher: Ashgate
ISBN: 9781409455622
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 07:56

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