How celebrities use Twitter

Posted by vm64 at Oct 13, 2010 09:55 AM |
New study at University of Leicester examines how we construct identity through social media
How celebrities use Twitter

Dr Ruth Page of the School of English.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 13 October 2010

Stephen Fry, Britney Spears and Sarah Brown will figure in a new study by a University of Leicester academic into the uses of social media.

Dr Ruth Page, of the School of English, is writing a book on the subject and has highlighted how celebrities construct identities for their online personas.

She is analysing 15,000 tweets by 30 of the most popular celebrity tweeters in order to see how they engage with their audiences.  The study into celebrity Twitter talk is part of a series investigating how stories are told through the different forms of social media, including blogs, discussion forums and Facebook.

Dr Page said: “Telling stories is a human impulse. Through social media, millions of people are telling their own stories every day in status updates, tweets and blogs. Social media is a phenomenon of our time so it is important to make sense of it. It magnifies social interactions and can tell us a lot about ourselves and how our relationships function.”

The initial linguistic evidence has already revealed certain mechanisms through which celebrities use Twitter to create an illusion of immediacy and proximity with their audience. Dr Page suggests that while tweeting seems to give fans privileged access to the celebrities, it also amplifies the celebrities’ professional status. The study showed that celebrities use different informal features in their talk, including Lilly Allen’s use of jokes and taboo language, Jamie Oliver’s praise of budding chefs and Amanda Holden’s disclosures of her domestic home life.

The research also shows that there is a palpable discrepancy between Facebook and Twitter, even though the two are often viewed as synonymous in the public eye. Dr Page commented “Whereas the former is used as a private social network, the latter is essentially an online environment for public news dissemination.”

NOTES TO NEWSDESK

For interviews please contact

Dr Ruth Page, School of English, University of Leicester,

Tel: 0116 223 1286

Email: rep22@le.ac.uk 

Or ring University of Leicester press office: 0116 252 2415

Emma Howard

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