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How Going Gaga on Twitter Helps Fans With Emotional Issues

How Going Gaga on Twitter Helps Fans With Emotional Issues Experts say use of Twitter has exploded with more than 175 million tweets sent daily and 11 accounts created every second on Twitter.

Twitter provides a way to communicate with celebrities, politicians and sports stars.

One celebrity who boasts the highest amount of global subscribers is singer Lady Gaga who enjoys more than 40 million Twitter followers.

A new study by University of Missouri communication researchers discovers online social media gives users an outlet to embrace their differences and provide emotional support to others.

Moreover the connections appear to deepen perceived relationships they feel they have with celebrities.

“Our work tends to focus on studying audiences who are maligned or consider themselves awkward,” said researcher Melissa Click, Ph.D.

“In our study of Lady Gaga followers, we found that she uses social media not for promotion but rather as a communication tool with her fans.

“She shares personal and ‘insider’ information through social media and develops feelings of intimacy with her followers. By revealing her embrace of her own differences and unusual behaviors she allows her followers to embrace their own differences.”

Click and her team found in some cases emotional support was a matter of life or death.

Researchers interviewed several fans who identified as gay, who had eating disorders, who considered themselves different or who were taunted relentlessly. They reported that Gaga instilled strength in them through her acceptance of their differences, which gave them a reason to live.

In addition, the social support network Lady Gaga fosters encourages her followers to be more charitable to each other, Click said.

Often fans create support communities that allow her followers to encourage and inspire others in times of difficulty.

“We found that among the more salient themes that emerged from our research was that participants’ perceived relationships with Gaga affected how close they felt to her,” Click said.

“They felt that she is the voice who celebrates their differences instead of mocking them, and this was a very positive thing.”

Researchers conducted one-on-one interviews with 45 self-identified “Little Monsters,” or followers of Lady Gaga, who ranged in ages from 14 to 53, were equally male and female and who equally identified as gay or straight.

Using software including Skype and Google Chat to communicate with followers from the U.S., Australia, Europe, Asia and Africa, among others, researchers asked how social media impacted their interest in and relationship to Lady Gaga.

Researchers also asked interviewees about their feelings toward Lady Gaga’s social activism.

The research, “Making monsters: Lady Gaga, fan identification, and social media,” was conducted by Click and graduate students Hyunji Lee and Holly Willson Holladay.

Study findings are published in the journal Popular Music and Society.

Source: University of Missouri

How Going Gaga on Twitter Helps Fans With Emotional Issues

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). How Going Gaga on Twitter Helps Fans With Emotional Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/01/13/how-going-gaga-on-twitter-helps-fans-with-emotional-issues/64450.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.