Do parasocial relationships with micro- and mainstream celebrities differ? An empirical study testing four attributes of the parasocial relationship

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine to what extent parasocial relationships with micro-celebrities and mainstream celebrities differ in terms of perceived reciprocity, authenticity, intimacy, and parasocial interaction. A within-person comparison of survey responses collected among 402 college students in China showed that participants perceived their relationships with micro-celebrities as more reciprocal than their relationships with mainstream celebrities. However, contrary to our expectations, participants perceived a lower degree of authenticity and intimacy for micro-celebrities than for mainstream celebrities. Moreover, we found no significant difference between the parasocial interactions with both types of celebrities. We additionally investigated the relative contribution of perceived reciprocity, authenticity, and intimacy to the parasocial interaction experienced with both micro- and mainstream celebrities. To that end, we performed multiple linear regression analyses run separately for each type of celebrity. We found that in the regression models for both micro- and mainstream celebrities, perceptions of reciprocity and intimacy positively predicted parasocial interaction, suggesting that these attributes are especially important in fostering parasocial relationships. Interestingly, perceptions of authenticity did not predict greater parasocial interaction with mainstream nor micro-celebrities, which suggests that the role of authenticity in fostering parasocial interactions may be different from what is commonly assumed. The implications of this study shed light on the changing nature of parasocial relationships in the context of micro-celebrities operating on social media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2006730
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCelebrity Studies
Early online date24 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Parasocial Relationship
  • Authenticity
  • Intimacy
  • Mainstream Celebrity
  • Micro-celebrity
  • parasocial interaction
  • Reciprocity
  • Social Media
  • Involvement
  • Social Network Sites
  • Media
  • Users
  • Communication
  • Twitter

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