By: Thomas DiMarco and Omar Haque
In Alperstein’s essay, “Imaginary Social Relationships,” he speaks about the nature of the relationships between celebrities and their fans. A celebrity is a person who has done something notable so that a very large amount of people know of and honor that person. Within this relationship, celebrities seek to reinforce their own appearance that keeps them at the same celebrity status. They do this by posting things on social media and sometimes talking to fans on sites like twitter and Instagram. What this does is create a perceived, personal relationship with their fans. Their fans read the celebrity’s posts and learn more about them through news sites that are designated around celebrity news. This causes people to celebrate a celebrity’s achievements while also knowing a lot about their online personalities and personal lives, giving their fans the experience of being in a close relationship with that person. While both parties do not know each other, the fans know so much about the celebrities that they almost feel like they know the celebrity and could get along with them. In turn, this causes the celebrity’s fame to increase, helping their career. Two celebrities that show how social media is used to create these imaginary social relationships are Kendrick Lamar and Chancelor Bennett/Chance the Rapper. Both of these people are musicians who play in largely the same genres, however they create imaginary social relationships in different ways.
Chance the Rapper is very active on social media. He often posts about his family, his upcoming concert tours, and the projects he’s working on. However, Kendrick Lamar is on the opposite side of the spectrum. He rarely posts on social media, except to announce his upcoming albums and a few of his shows. Chance the Rapper uses a variety of different types of social media, he most frequently uses Instagram and Twitter; although he also uses Snapchat, just not as often. On the other hand, Kendrick Lamar has an Instagram, but has no posts on it. Along with that, he has a Twitter, but only posts announcements about his new albums, singles, and concerts. Although, he does sometimes makes posts relating to musicians and other artistic people. But overall, it is buildup for his or someone else’s work. What is different between the two is that obviously, Chance being active on social media makes him more relatable as a normal person than a celebrity. For example, Chance now has a daughter, and constantly posts about how much he loves being a father. By giving up personal information and talking about his love for his daughter, he becomes relatable because he seems more human. He reminds his fans of people they know (fathers, friends, etc.) and seems like a good-spirited and moral person as well. On the other hand, although Kendrick Lamar has family and all, it is not very publicized; so, he does not have the same personability and relatability as Chance.