Fame is not free. It is difficult for celebrities to leave the house and not have to deal with their fans who often do not respect “personal space”. There is increased anxiety with social media in an age where actors, models, athletes, and singers are expected to all be present on these social networks.
Although anyone can laugh at a joke or “like” the wrong post on Facebook, it is possible for celebs to ruin their career and put the PR departments under severe control.
This is why celebrities have stopped using social media platforms. Some say they do it for mental health. But the celebrity decision to stop using social media was not made overnight.
“This movement started many years ago, with increased funding directed towards mental health research and then campaigns to draw public attention to the data,” stated Dr. Allison Forti (associate teaching professor and associate Director of the Department of Counseling Online Programs) at Wake Forest University.
These programs were then adopted by universities as a way to enhance learning outcomes. Larger companies also started emphasizing the importance of mental health and productivity.
Forti added that the early efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness led public figures to realize that they had a unique opportunity for raising mental health awareness. Forti said that the movement today was a result of increased technology and social media usage, as well as public dialog. People are more open to admitting that they take a mental-health day off work. It is becoming easier for people to talk about depression and anxiety, and there is an increase in mental health counseling.
Fame And Celebrities
Because celebrities need to be visible, they will likely get a big break without being seen. But once a person’s name has been in the public eye, social media only helps them to remain relevant and useful with ever-changing audiences.
It is no longer necessary for A-list performers, actors/actresses, or professional athletes to use social media. Tribe Builder Media’s founder Danielle Sabrina explained that social media allows celebrities to engage with their fans more personally and provide a more personalized fan experience. In addition to remaining relevant, celebs can also leverage their social media followers for sales and ticket sales as well as music downloads.
Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, true A-listers, still use social media to increase sales and awareness of their products.
Celebrities who need to make a return or react to criticisms or falsified narratives can use social media to their advantage. Sabrina said that social media platforms also offer a way to communicate with fans and wider public, which is not possible through traditional media outlets. On the other end, new celebrities and influencers who struggle to remain in the spotlight may have trouble without social media.
The New Medium
It should also be remembered that Elizabeth Taylor and Jimmy Stewart built decades-long careers without social media, while screen legend Greta Garbo arguably would have blocked any would-be followers – had she even signed up for the services.
Professor Mai-Ly Steers at Duquesne University, Assistant Professor in School of Nursing: “There are lots of celebrities who don’t know their social media posts so celebs can be famous without posting on social media,” she said.
The concept of celebrity existed even before the rise and fall of social media. It is important to remember that not only were many of the actors and actresses in silent films unable to appear on the talkies, but Lucile Ball (and George Burns) are two examples of radio personalities who made the transition to TV.
Although celebrities existed before TV, the reality is that they will eventually disappear if they don’t adapt from radio. Just like Kevin Hart, The Rock, and every Kardashian/Jenner, to attract the most attention, you must meet the audience where they are – social media,” warned Dr. Dustin York, associate professor of communications at Maryville University.
One example is the Kardashians, who could show how celebrities can become brands via social media.
Steers said, “It helps to them speak directly their fans.”
“Celebrities pushing projects directly to their fans via social media is exactly why brands like FashionNova spend over 40 million dollars a year on influencer marketing – it works,” added York. For example, when you promote a movie on Netflix, how do you expect a viewer to watch your commercial? It could be sandwiched between an anxiety medication commercial and a commercial for a pickup truck on CBS. Celebrities should use social media to communicate directly with their followers by using authenticity and direct communication.
One downside to social media is that celebrities may be affected by it.
“Fans may even develop parasocial relationships – a one-sided relationship where the fan feels like they know a celebrity intimately based on their social media posts,” said Steers.
Although this is not healthy for all users, it can be beneficial for celebrities and their influence as it can encourage a desire to purchase the products that the Kardashians and other celebrity endorsers are selling.
In the end, even as some of the most famous sign off, it is likely they’ll turn up on another platform – as the spotlight is always calling.
Steers explained that “if there is another platform people prefer in the near future,” Steers claimed, “celebrities with a strong brand and following on one social media platform will migrate to the next platform to build their fan base.”