Presentation Title

Parasocial Relationships in Online Culture

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

In 1956, Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl introduced the world to the theory of parasocial relationships. When Horton and Wohl first coined the term, they were referring to the illusion of face-to-face relationships audience members seemed to form with performers on television, radio, and film. In 1956, Horton and Wohl could not have predicted the evolution of media and the impact it would have on modern-day parasocial relationships. With the introduction of social media websites and online communities, parasocial relationships are no longer strictly limited to celebrities and their fans.

Now, online culture has blurred the line between performer and audience. When the concept of parasocial relationships was first introduced, the theory was limited to public figures and their fans, but within an online culture, everyone has the ability to share their image with the general public. Anyone with an internet connection can gain an online following or fan base. Individuals can share personal thoughts, opinions and experiences as well as directly communicate with fans through social media platforms. This research project will explore whether or not parasocial relationships can impact people who produce public blogs and maintain small scale fan-bases, and how this evolution of parasocial relationships may affect society as a whole.

Department

Journalism Communication and New Media

Faculty Advisor

Charles Hays

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Parasocial Relationships in Online Culture

In 1956, Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl introduced the world to the theory of parasocial relationships. When Horton and Wohl first coined the term, they were referring to the illusion of face-to-face relationships audience members seemed to form with performers on television, radio, and film. In 1956, Horton and Wohl could not have predicted the evolution of media and the impact it would have on modern-day parasocial relationships. With the introduction of social media websites and online communities, parasocial relationships are no longer strictly limited to celebrities and their fans.

Now, online culture has blurred the line between performer and audience. When the concept of parasocial relationships was first introduced, the theory was limited to public figures and their fans, but within an online culture, everyone has the ability to share their image with the general public. Anyone with an internet connection can gain an online following or fan base. Individuals can share personal thoughts, opinions and experiences as well as directly communicate with fans through social media platforms. This research project will explore whether or not parasocial relationships can impact people who produce public blogs and maintain small scale fan-bases, and how this evolution of parasocial relationships may affect society as a whole.