Celebrity Research Project by Brian Franceschelli and James Nemia

In this Celebrity Research Project, we strived to learn about both the way that people interact and follow their favorite celebrities, as well as how celebrities interact with their fans and the rest of the Internet throuh media, particularly in the form of social media. In doing so, we interview four students as Loyola University Maryland about the celebrities that they followed, and we followed two celebrities to see what they posted on various social media sites (i.e. – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) over the course of the past week.

Interview #1- Beyonce

My interviewee feels a strong connection to Beyonce because she is an awesome role model for both genders, especially younger women. “I listens to her music and connects with the lyrics she hears.” The way she follows Beyonce is through Twitter and Instagram, keeping up with daily updates in her life. When I asked her if she felt she really knew Beyonce, she said, “I would say the messages behind her songs gives you insight into her character.”

Interview #2 – Leonardo DiCaprio

One student feet connected to him because he is his favorite actor. He loves the movies that he has been in. He follows him on Twitter and Instagram to constantly keep up with his life to see if there is anything new and important. When I asked him if he would say he knew Leonardo DiCaprio on a personal level, he said “I would not say that I personally know Leonardo DiCaprio, because I only know him as his characters that he acts as, not his true self.”

Interview #3 – Morgan Freeman

The third person that we interviewed had a connection to the actor Morgan Freeman. The student was drawn to Mr. Freeman because he enjoyed his movies and other works and recognized that Mr. Freeman was notable for his voice and narration (saying that it was almost like Morgan Freeman was the “voice of reason” in a few of his films) as well as for his personality. Although this student had a connection to Mr. Freeman, he did not directly follow him, as he only keeps up with what Mr. Freeman is doing through watching his films and watching the news.

Interview #4 – Kevin Hart

The fourth and final student that we interviewed had a connection to the actor and comedian Kevin Hart. This student was drawn to Mr. Hart mostly because of his humor, as the student can personally connect with Mr. Hart’s comedy style personally. The student was also drawn to Mr. Hart because of his energetic manner, realism, and his notable work ethic. As a fan of Mr. Hart’s, the student directly follows him on Instagram and Twitter. He also keeps up with Kevin Hart by watching his comedies and other works.

In addition to interviewing other students about the celebrities that they felt connected to, we also followed two celebrities over the past week, investigating the way that they interact with their fans, with others on the Internet, and with the world around them.
The first celebrity that we followed was Tom Hanks. We followed Mr. Hanks on both Facebook and Twitter, as he using both every so often to post online. We learned that Mr. Hanks’s communication strategy with his fans is different then what one might expect, as he does not post about the everyday on goings of his life. One of his posts for instance, when I looked at his profile on Monday of this week, was of a bicycle locked in a bike rack, in the middle of a pile of snow, with the words “Please let this be the last storm of the month”, and ended with the word “Hanx”, which was used as a clever interpretation on his last name and used to “sign” the post as one might sign their name at the end of a letter. Since then, Mr. Hanks has posted a number of times, though these have mainly been about gloves that were lost or discarded on, in, or around streets (presumably that Mr. Hanks was walking or traveling along).
For our other celebrity we looked at Henrik Lunqvist, the goalie for the New York Rangers. Henrik connects to his fans through various forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. His tweets often have to do with games that the Rangers have played. As of recent he has been tweeting updates on his health to his fans due to the fact that he received an injury recently. He also tweets about his TV show, which is another way he reaches out to his fans. He designs goalie masks that are auctioned off and the money goes to charity. Overall Henrik Lundqvist is commonly updating his fans about his life, and his charity.

Although the two celebrities that we followed for the week post on similar sites, there is one obvious way that their online presence is difference, and that is in the content that they post online (Tom Hanks posts things that go on around him, like lost gloves, and Henrik Lunqvist posts updates about his health, and his show.)
What we learned from our interviews with other students was that most people connect with a celebrity in one way or another, and that not everyone directly follows them on social media. We also learned the ways that different celebrities interact with others online in both similar and individual manners.

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