What should celebrities expect from fans and do they have any way to influence fans’ behavior?
When someone achieves success in a chosen field that attracts public followings, like actors, musicians, athletics, or other fields, they gain love and devotion of fans and celebrity status. Celebrities are usually happy with their status because they are recognized for their talent, hard work and are very well compensated. Fans around the world pay out
millions billions of $ in support of their favorite celebrities, subscribing to television & cable networks to watch, going to movies, games, concerts and events, following social media, purchasing magazines, and tons of merchandise. It is a huge business and the celebrities are well compensated for it. For many years we only connected with celebrities through magazines with glossy photos, articles, and interviews such as People, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, In Touch, Sports Illustrated or on television shows like the morning shows or Entertainment Tonight. There wasn’t any direct interaction between fans and celebrities unless they happened to be in the audience of an interview show, like Oprah, or by chance at the same public place like a restaurant. Now we have the internet and social media has lead to even more public attention and changed how celebrities and fans can interact. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are used by the media and many celebrities for promotion. All of the magazines I mentioned before, as well as all television shows, production studios, concert venues, and anything to do with entertainment also now have sites on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Fans, like myself, can follow these sites and connect with other fans of the same shows, teams, bands, whatever, as often as they want.
In turn many celebrities also have public social media accounts and interact with fans directly. When online people feel a sense of anonymity and will often say things they would never say to a person’s face. My personal rule has always been if you wouldn’t say it to their face then don’t say it online, but even when in person, some people still don’t have a proper filter. How often have you said “I can’t believe she/he just said that!” So with millions of people online, there are bound to be misunderstandings, inappropriate messages and arguments in fandom. I believe the majority of fans feel a sense of connectivity to their favorite stars and are interested in what they do and how they are in their “real” life. Humans are curious and social creatures and want to know about people they like. Do celebrities have any control or responsibility in how they handle their fandom? I believe they do. If celebrities share parts of their personal selves willingly and reap benefits, they need to understand that it will almost always open up more questions and thoughts from fans. Handling fans questions or statements can be addressed by stars directly, ignored or handled by a representative. In my opinion it is just like the golden rule. Treat others as you want them to treat you. Celebrities should treat fans with the respect they want in return. It’s a bad thing to belittle fans or sound accusatory because that will make them defensive and/or angry. Celebrities don’t need to try and publicly analyze fans’ questions or reasoning, just accept and answer the question honestly or ignore it. Yes, some fans can be rude and insensitive, I’m sure it can be annoying but it does come with the territory (all jobs have a downside). How stars respond gives the public a good sense of what kind of a person they are. It also sets the tone for a return responses and the difference between support or anger not only for the stars but for the fans with each other. It should go without saying that if fans cross a line into criminal behavior then obviously the only response should be from authorities.
I plan to post more on this subject on another post sometime.
Here is a link to an interesting article about why people are interested in celebrities.