A content analysis of teen-favored celebrities' posts on social networking sites: Implications for parasocial relationships and fame-valuation



The aspiration of young people for fame – a wide public recognition – has risen in recent years. This fame-valuation is a concern for scholars, educators, and parents as it has been linked with teen self-focused aspirations, narcissism, and materialism. This rise in the value of fame has been linked to two trends: teens' increased attraction to celebrities and their use of social networking sites (SNSs). SNSs have changed the landscape of celebrity media presence compared to traditional media and enable a shift in balance between a professional and personal focus in the celebrity's brand image. Such a balance might have implications for the relationships audiences form with celebrities and, by extension, for adolescent fame-valuation. The current study examines the SNS (Facebook and Instagram) posts of teen-favored celebrities in order to map the characteristics of the messages to which adolescents are heavily exposed, that might reinforce their fascination with fame. The study is based on a content analysis of 1,075 posts by 24 teen-favored local and foreign celebrities in Israel. The study finds that celebrities' SNS posts lack depth in personal self-disclosure and are rather strongly focused on their professional lives – job-related activities, achievements, and self-promotion. Though SNSs present limited gatekeeping restrictions, celebrities choose to present a controlled image of themselves that is unprovocative, as evident in their promoted values, exhibited lifestyle, and physical representation.

Celebrities; social networking sites; adolescents; parasocial relationships; fame-valuation
Author biographies

Keren Eyal

Sammy Ofer School of Communications, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya

Tali Te'eni-Harari

Business School, Peres Academic Center


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