Staying up until midnight at the age of 12 so that I could be one of the first people in the world to own and read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince means that I have to put my hand up and say ‘I am a fan’. We all are even if we aren’t aware of it! However these days the lines between fan, stalker and obsession are sometimes blurred as social media and the Internet allows us to feel much closer to our idols than we actually are.
Lucy Bennett writes about the research she has done in relation to media fans and how this audience interacts with the content of their choosing. Lucy took a closer look at Lady Gaga’s fan base and explores the close relationship that artists can now have with fans through media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. These platforms allow fans to feel connected and important especially when they are given nicknames such as Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, Miley Cryus’ Smilers and Justin Bieber’s Beliebers.
With outlets such as Twitter, fan bases can feel personally connected and often get very protective, tweeting abusive comments to competitors or those who share a difference of opinion. So have some fan audiences become a tad extreme? There is loving something and then there is LOVING something and certain fan behavior can definitely be unhealthy such as the #CutForBeiber hoax that astonished and horrified plenty of people worldwide.
Lucy also refers to the evolving audience, as I mentioned in my post ‘Lighting the Way’ where you no longer need to be at a concert to be involved, as fans have created different types of audiences allowing them to engage how they like with the media they enjoy.
Just between us I’m a massive fan of home and away…. What are you a fan of?!
* Bennett, L, 2013, ‘Researching online fandom’, Project Muse, cinema journal vol.52, http://muse.jhu.edu.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/journals/cinema_journal/v052/52.4.bennett.html
*Shepherd,T, 2013, “‘Cutting for Bieber’ becomes trend in wake of pop star’s alleged drug use”,News.com.au, last accessed 6/9/13, http://www.news.com.au/national-news/cutting-for-bieber-becomes-trend-in-wake-of-pop-stars-drug-use/story-fncynjr2-1226549411210#ixzz2eInmQ0Qi