Members of the public have always followed the lives of famous people long before Twitter and Instagram existed. In the past, people became famous for being actors, musicians, sports stars and the like. You got an agent and/or public relations team; you networked and waited for your big break. With internet and social media sites things changed to a new high. Justin Bieber, like so many others, began his career on YouTube. To a certain extent, Twitter keeps him relevant and popular as much as his music does.

There are celebrities who started off by blogging or recording videos on YouTube. They use it to keep in touch with their fans and to allow their fans to keep in touch with them. It also helps them to expand their reach and gain new fans. Vanity Fair lists 2016 as the year that social media replaced public relations. It was the year that celebrities realised that they could control their own PR. Why hire a public relations firm when you can do it yourself? They see themselves as part of a group with common interests. Celebrities are able to develop fan bases with tight connections.

This has given rise to groups such as Justin Bieber’s Beliebers. Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters. Taylor Swift’s Swifties functioning almost like a tribe. These tribes tend to react as one. They can become expressive to those who do not share their view. Who they perceive to be a threat to the celebrity they follow. Social media has transformed the way fans and celebrities interact with each other. This is why we need a different type of social media.