Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social media helps users embrace differences, provide support to one another, study finds

Date:
January 10, 2014
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
According to recent statistics, more than 175 million tweets are sent daily, and 11 accounts are created every second on Twitter. One celebrity who boasts the highest amount of global subscribers is singer Lady Gaga who enjoys more than 40 million Twitter followers. Now, communication researchers have found that online social media gives users an outlet to embrace their differences and provide emotional support to others while deepening perceived relationships they feel they have with celebrities.

According to recent statistics, more than 175 million tweets are sent daily, and 11 accounts are created every second on Twitter. One celebrity who boasts the highest amount of global subscribers is singer Lady Gaga who enjoys more than 40 million Twitter followers. Now, University of Missouri communication researchers have found that online social media gives users an outlet to embrace their differences and provide emotional support to others while deepening perceived relationships they feel they have with celebrities.

"Our work tends to focus on studying audiences who are maligned or consider themselves awkward," said Melissa Click, assistant professor of communication in the MU College of Arts & Science. "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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Melissa Click, Hyunji Lee and Holly Willson Holladay. Making monsters: Lady Gaga, fan identification, and social media. Popular Music and Society, January 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Social media helps users embrace differences, provide support to one another, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140110223054.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2014, January 10). Social media helps users embrace differences, provide support to one another, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140110223054.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Social media helps users embrace differences, provide support to one another, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140110223054.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins