By Lauren Fabiszak
For my celebrity research project I decided to report on 2 of my favorite artists: Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.
Bieber and Gaga both communicate to their fans via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook every single day, which shows through their large social media followings. Bieber is the 2nd most followed person (behind Katy Perry) with 61 million Twitter followers and Gaga is number 6 with 44 million Twitter followers. Instead of most celebrities using their social media platforms strictly to promote themselves, both Bieber and Gaga are very engaged with their fans on a more personal level.
Based on the “language” of their Tweets, Bieber appeals to mostly females and especially females of ages of 10 to 20. For example, Bieber tweets a lot of shirtless selfies, replies to fans, and makes jokes that his audience will understand and appreciate. Gaga appeals to very strongly to the LGBT community and those in the art world of theater and fashion. She often shows off a new style she wore or shows love to her fans by explaining how they inspire her in some way or another.
Through his music, Bieber promotes a message of believing in oneself and croons about love to appeal to his audience and make them feel as though they could have a shot at being his girlfriend. Lady Gaga is all about freedom of expression; owning who you are and showing love to those around you. Bieber has an advantage on his side: the fact that he originated from YouTube. His fans, or “Beliebers”, feel as though they were the ones who discovered him and introduced him to the world, growing up with him until the present day where he’s an iconic pop star. However, Lady Gaga is also unique in that her music isn’t specialized for any specific group, meaning the ages and gender of her fans varies greatly.
When asking random college freshman about their connection to celebrities and their experience as a part of a “fandom”, the answers varied. Kirsten Petrarca exclaimed that she really liked Meghan Trainor because of the message of female empowerment that’s evident in her songs. Similarly, Kristi Haag is a big fan of Taylor Swift, because of “her terrific songwriting and her advocation for the feminist movement. I’ve liked her since the start of her career. On my way to ice skating competitions my mom and I would always have an album of hers in the car and listen to it together and sing along. I hope to one day see her on tour with my mom since we’ve bonded from her music.” Although Petrarca doesn’t follow Trainor on social media, Haag follows Swift on all her accounts.
Tara Howell, however, is the typical “fangirl”, as she feels a deep connection to Paramore and follows the band’s every move. “I started listening to them when I was 14, in 2009 I saw them in concert for the first time. As I found out more about them, I loved each of the members and I’ve loved them ever since. I feel like I’ve grown up with them. I think music is the universal language, and even through the ups and downs of growing up, they were always there. Even though they weren’t physically with me, I felt comforted that they understood how I felt. When I made a Twitter, I only created an account because the lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams, had one. I follow them on all forms of social media, but I always post about them on my accounts and follow other fans.”
In conclusion, fans and celebrities aim for a “personal relationship” with each other by constantly communicating on social media and building a sense of trust and familiarity. Not only does the celebrity profit from this as a way of making them more famous, but the fans feel a sense of community with those of the same interest and are inspired to better themselves to have certain attributes that their favorite person has.