After some minor changes, we have now established the final conference programme! Please follow the link above and check out the rich variety of panels and presentations. And also check out the abstract of our third key note speaker, David Giles, below!
Social media and the changing audience-celebrity relationship
David Giles, University of Winchester, UK
We are only midway through the second decade of the new century, yet in the brief period since 2000 technological change has already transformed the nature of celebrity and the relationship between celebrities and their audiences. In this talk I will discuss the impact of social media on traditional celebrity-audience relationships, which have long been characterised as ‘parasocial’ due to their one-sided nature. However, the affordances of Twitter and other social media allow direct communication between stars and audiences which has had a profound effect on both. I will focus in particular on the contrast between established celebrities, many of whom have had a prickly relationship with social media (even early adopters like Stephen Fry) with that of emerging celebrities, for whom social media are essential components of the publicity machinery. I will also look at the new genres of celebrity that have been made possible through digital culture, notably YouTube celebrities. Initially described as ‘micro-celebrities’, there is little doubt that the likes of PewDiePie and must now be considered bona fide celebrities, complete with sell-out tours, bookstore mobbings and Tussauds waxwork figures. What is it about YouTubers that makes them so popular with their audiences, and what implications does the phenomenon have for the study of celebrity and fandom more generally?