While reading the “Fan” Keywords chapter along with Ellcessor’s piece on Constructing Social Media’s Indie Auteurs, I was really intrigued by how the connotation of the word “fan” has changed over time. In the Keywords reading, we learn that the term “fan,” abbreviated from “fanatic,” used to be a negative term used to criticize those who had different political or religious views than you. Now, we consider “fans” to be the people who support a person’s endeavors in industries like entertainment, sports, politics, and more.
Ellsessor’s article explained how the social media and gaming icon, Felicia Day, is able to manage her professional image, while remaining authentic and relatable to her fans. She does so by producing content that often has commercial purpose, but really emphasizes her identity as a “gamer” or “geek,” allowing her fans to feel like they are included in her genuine, personal life.
The article made me think about how celebrities that I’m more familiar with follow a similar image management technique. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are a huge way for celebrities to let their fans feel connected to their lives outside of their profession, but also benefits their commercial endeavors. For example, Kylie Jenner promotes her make-up brand on her social media daily, but since social media is assumed to be personally run by celebrities themselves, it feels less like an ad and more like a shared moment between fan and celebrity.
In my video, I explored the way celebrities accomplish the concept Ellessor wrote about through their Instagram presence. I started the video with a commercial featuring Taylor Swift endorsing Apple Music. The commercial plays up the corkiness that Taylor Swift is known for. I felt this spoke to Ellessor’s point that if a celebrity can seem authentic, it doesn’t come off to their fans that they are “selling out.” I kept the audio of the commercial, but inserted posts from different celeb accounts that showcased the types of photos that make fans feel included in their personal life, and then countered those with a post that has clear commercial motives.
- How are public figures/celebrities, such as Felicia Day, able to release commercial or promotional content without losing their authenticity in the eyes of their fans?
- Why is the construction and management of one’s “star text” important?
- How can interactions with celebrities’ online media impact people’s overall experience as a fan?