Online Networks and Social Change

A pathway to fame: from persona performance to online collectivism


As we enter the age of the attention economy being one of the popular business models, online careers like Youtuber and social media influencers are burgeoning. It seems that every one of us has been given equal rights to gain social capital and voice on the Internet. However, online social platform technology also greatly facilitates the government or enterprise media to carry out propaganda and manipulate public opinions. Government and enterprise propaganda is gradually inclined to cooperate with “grassroots” individuals, like online celebrities and social media stars. Based on the online persona performance of social media celebrities and the rise of the fan economy, the government and the enterprises save the cost of propaganda and also double their opinion influence on the Internet. This article will discuss how online influencers and social media stars can build huge online influence quickly with the help of governments and corporations through online persona performance and virtual data accumulation. It will as well discuss about the hidden concerns of online collectivism behind this phenomenon.


The initial concept for the design of the Internet was to give everyone the right to free speech. The online social network is not able for everyone to fully exercise their rights. The Internet has become the world’s most giant playground for the most influential game of press and consensus fighting. Both governments and media corporations public need to interact with their audiences on the Internet to grasp the audience’s voice, preferences and trends. Also, the individual online influencers need to attract and build their fan communities through persona performance. Meanwhile, governments and enterprises have also found that persona performance and online collectivism significantly improve political and commercial propaganda. The cooperation between the government, enterprises and network influencers has gradually become a popular strategy for guiding and manipulating network public opinion.

In the entertainment industry, fans’ preference and consumer behaviour decide the trend of online influencers’ persona design. It has been a non-ignorable trend that the mass production of online influencers with favourable persona is demanded by the brands and governments’ media outlets. Besides cooperation with online influencers, brands and government outlets might also choose to train and build up an online persona for promoting themselves, regardless of whether a natural person is required to perform. The virtual Vocaloid, Miku, for example. In the “227” controversy even that took place online in Chinese social network in 2020, this strategy proved to be highly incendiary in the local entertainment industry. Therefore, this paper argues that persona performance could encourage online collectivism or trigger online collective action for manipulating network public opinions. From the perspective of identity in post-modernism, this article will first discuss how the social media star industry builds up online influence in a short time through the mode of persona performance and virtual data accumulation. Secondly, it will move to how persona performance could promote online collective action like trolling. Thirdly, this paper will draw from the case study on “227” controversy and discuss how the online collectivism and fandom communities’ preference could alter the influencer’s persona performance and even decisions of enterprises and governments.

Identity and persona performance

Identity in postmodernism is fluid and constructed by language and performance. Although, identity in virtual communities could be more experimental and creative in terms of practising things we were able to do in reality(Delanty, 2018, p. 216). For instance, in virtual communities anonymity and online persona performance already became daily practices regarding of one’s identity. People tend to project a likable or respectful image in public, whether in an online or offline environment. It is even more vital for online influencers to maintain an impression and virtual persona specific to their audience’s preferences. Through edited texts, images and videos, people perform incomplete personas on social media platforms, leaving their audiences to make up the blank with their interpretation and imagination. The encouragement of participatory culture enhances the social tie in the relationship between online influencers and their audiences. The audiences become the “partial creators” of the “creation” of influencers’ online personas. Jenkins mentioned in 2013 that for media fandoms, fan’s recreation of virtual personas is the foundation of fandom activities. Therefore, audiences’ emotion for online influencers is far more intimate and protective than mere adoration from fans to their idols. However, the attention that fandom bring to online influencers only increase due to the enhanced relationship.

Persona performance and social media stars mode

In the entertainment industry, a similar star building mode is used to create social media stars. Social media stars and online influencers need to maximize their appeal to an audience on the Internet to expand their influence. For them, the quantification of their influence and professional skills are directly tied to the number of followers, thumb ups, and retweets. It was also reflected on Mascheroni’s finding that teenagers like to link their sexual attentiveness to virtual data(2015).

Quantification of virtual data functions is a key performance indicator in the online influencers industry. Likewise, social media stars are either trained by brokerage firms or existing online influencers who have achieved particular popularity. Together, social media stars will be sent on limelight platforms with higher exposure like talent shows for television audiences. These budding social media stars’ success depends on their online popularity, which is linked to the quantification of likes and retweets. Sometimes social media stars’ professional value reflects on the number of followers and received gifts and denotations. Mechanisms are developed for motivating fandoms through ranking the social media stars on trending and hashtags. Under this business model, fandoms of these social media stars take collective action on data modification. Fandoms would generate zombie accounts to fake votes and duplicate comments and retweets. Their social media stars would have a large number of virtual data on the competition and exchange for enterprises to provide social media stars with more public display opportunities and job opportunities. Thus, these social media platforms and media enterprises have fandoms as free labour for building up attentions and absorbing an increasing number of daily active users.  

Du(March 2, 2020) recorded that the core concept of social media platform has fandoms’ attention, money, and labour forwardly invested into social media stars’ competition. The enterprises and social media platforms then profit in both financial and propaganda aspects. One result of this mode is that these modified virtual data had created a misinterpretation of professional value in the industry and a fake impression of popularity. Kollock also said: “With the header data becoming a conventional signal, such deception may be quite wide-spread”(1999, p. 19). However, this idolatry and unfairness in the industry are not in the concern of media enterprises and capital. Still, as long as they can perform their personas designed for and justified by targeted audiences, professional skills are not the priority for social media stars.

Besides, in East Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea, media enterprises often combine distribution and brokerage business. Unequal contracts like a gambling treaty that guarantees high expectations of profit for the capital are widely applied in the entertainment industry. Social media stars cannot resist the existing business model so they have to maintain the given impression and persona, which media enterprises consistently modify for promotional strategies and are enhanced by fandoms through creative fan works. This mode first appeared in Hollywood. Marvel series of movies and TV series also have a mature process of quickly building a fan base and influence. Two leading actors would definitely present together after the new movie released. In China, the leading actors from a duo movie or drama series would also be on magazine shots and promotional evens together for some time. For instance, the leading actor Xiao Yuiang and Taiwan actor Joseph Zeng from the recent popular web series Ultimate Note (2020) were on Bazaar magazine. Their interaction on the social media platform lasted until February 2021. Ao3, Lofter and other fan creation platforms have published more than 1000 works about the duo. Du( March 10, 2020) mentions that, whether through talent shows or participating in TV shows, many social media stars appear to the public as a duo during the “honeymoon” promotional period, like Chris Hemsworth and Homas William Hiddleston had attended the promotional activities of the Thor movies. However, because of the separation of actors’ brokerage from media distribution companies, Western actors and entertainers face far fewer restrictions than their East Asian counterparts.

Online collectivism and trolling

Secondly, the mainstream impression formed and enhanced by persona performance and modified virtual data could drive the occurrence of fandoms’ collectivist activities. A common observation of collective behaviour in the online social platform is trolling. In Kollock’ article (1999, p. 19), trolling manipulates others’ attitudes toward the initial intention post by stereotyping and labeling. Therefore, trolling generally causes a group of people to besiege an opinion speaker or an online attack between two groups of people with different opinions. Persona performance could incite collective behaviour. For instance, initiating a trolling action for an opinion leader with an influential base on online social platforms could be inexpensive and practical to empower his opinions to attack opponents. Moreover, an opinion leader’s persona performance helps to consolidate his influence and manipulate the direction of public consensus. For example, Andrew Cuomo, the Mayor of New York, presented an image of being honest and concerned about the risk of Covid-19 at the early stage in 2020 on the daily show with Trevor Noah youtube channel(Gov. Andrew Cuomo – Leading New York During the Pandemic | The Daily Social Distancing Show, 2020, 03:15–05:21).With his presentation online, Cuomo thus was popularly supported until the exposure of Cuomo hiding the death toll at a nursing home and being prosecuted for sexual harassment. However, the video about Cuomo’s scandal was viewed more petite than half of the views from his earlier one with a positive image on the same Youtube channel(An Amazing Month for Women | The Daily Show, 2021, 03:15–05:21). When he protested against his allegations, one of the voices in support of him on Twitter, the New York Times writer Candace Owens called these Allegations a trial culture of “Guilty until Proven Innocent.” Owens influenced some of her supporters to post them together and boycott the opposition’s voice(Candace Owens on, 2021). Trolling itself has gradually been regarded as a means to enhance the influence of speech. Online influencers can incite existing fandoms to make inflammatory remarks against an event or opinion or carry out public opinion suppression and trigger consensus fighting between different online communities.

In addition, the anonymity and the lack of physical expression in online communication confuse malicious and innocent remarks, inviting a large number of trolls who are not even from online influencers’ fandom without the concern of taking responsibility. Kollock (1999, p. 19) also said that Trolling will only stop their success at the latter depends on whether the troll’s enjoyment is sufficiently diminished or outweighed by the costs invested. However, in the battle for consensus involving business and government, it is often more costly to lose than to continue to invest in channeling opinion through online influencers.

Case study: “227” controversy in China

Because of fandoms sharing fanworks and materials about their virtual celebrities. Delanty(2018) pointed out in the example of Sweden music fan that fandoms are unprofessional but certainly public relation persons to some extent. The “227” controversy, which took place on the Internet of mainland China on 27th February 2020, reflects how the preferences of the fandoms and online collectivist actions could affect the persona performance of social media stars, and the decision-making of enterprises and governments.

The social media star, Xiaozhan, was involved in 227 controversy after becoming a celebrity from an adapted Chinese web series based on a pro-LGBT novel. His online persona was designed to be a duo with the other leading character from the series for building a fan base on the audiences who were into their relationship. Xiao’s persona had also developed to cater to the teenagers by his brokerage firm. However, the trigger of “227” controversy was the split of Xiao’s fandom, which the teenager fans organized collectively lodging anonymous complaints about non-heterosexually oriented fanworks regarding Xiao. Due to the sudden jumping amount of complaints and accusation of pornography, such large-scale tip-offs caused other users of AO3 in mainland China to be unable to use the platform from mainland China. Also, other fanwork platforms like Lofter were suspended from the app store. A large number of fanworks were removed and or permanently deleted. The fanwork creators affected by the ban of AO3 spontaneously launched a serious boycotting anonymous tip-off and Xiao’s commercial endorsements against Xiao and his fans across social media platforms.

Xiao himself remained silent throughout the conflict under his brokerage. The commercial boycotts led to the cancellation of most of Xiao Zhan’s endorsements by associated brands. Simultaneously, collective tip-offs of Xiao’s fandom turned to social media platforms and caused the banning of many accounts of protesters on Weibo. Xiao’s studio and Xiao’s fans collected angry comments from the creators, portrayed Xiao as a “trolling victim”, and claimed to take legal action against individuals who “trolling” this social media star. Many network creators reportedly had received Xiao Zhan’s lawyer’s letter and death threats from Xiao’s fans. After then Xiao’s fan gathering was shut down due to many anonymous complaints about illegal assembly during the pandemic. Until this point, tip-offs had become a common weapon for both parties attacking their opponent opinions. During this whole incident, Xiao’s image turned from a duo into a teenager idol and then into a trolling victim who might justify his fandom’s protective collectivism presented in the conflict.

Since the controversy had brought significant attention to this social media star, Xiao’s brokerage company continued to invest in the exposure of Xiao’s current performance. So far, all parties in the consensus war are still locked in a stalemate on the Internet in mainland China. This is to say, through online collectivism, the need and preference of Xiao’s fans had influenced the brokerage firm’s decision. The attention brought to Xiaozhan by the “227” controversy has already exceeded the cost of commercial endorsements that Xiao had lost. Also, online collectivism could override and transform social media star’s online persona completely, such as Xiao’s silence during the development of “227” controversy.


To sum up, identity in the view of postmodernism is fluid and performed through language. In today’s social network context, online identity is an incomplete persona performed through visual language and text, except physical language. Persona performance is therefore vital for online entertainers to maintain a favourable image. Since the teenagers in the digital generation tending to link appreciation and attraction with the quantification of virtual data, such as likes and retweets, these data had become the online key performance indicator for the entertainment industry. Social media stars, whose targeted audiences are teenagers, are restricted to perform the personas specifically designed by brokerage firms. Although sticking to persona performance assures their opportunities, especially in East Asian area. It might encourage an unfair industry value and indulge fandoms’ aggression and online collectivism, such as trolling. In a worse case like “227” controversy in China, indulging fans’ preference can start online consensus fighting and online collectivism. Extreme online collective action can harm the social network phenomenon, force social media stars to alter their online personas and let the enterprises or even government to biased decisions. Eventually, it would be the media enterprises behind consensus fighting that reap great economic and promotional value. 

Reference list

An Amazing Month for Women | The Daily Show. (2021, March 31). [Video]. YouTube.

Baym, N. K. (2007). The new shape of online community: The example of Swedish independent music fandom. First Monday, 1–16.

Candace Owens on. (2021, April 2). [Text]. Twitter.

Delanty, G. (2018). Virtual community: Belonging as communication. In Community (Key Ideas) (3rd ed., pp. 200–224). Routledge.

Du, M.W.(2020, March 2). “227”一周年:举报,塌房,内卷,偶像与粉丝的996. GQ Report.

Du, M.W.(2020, March 10).粉丝举报同人网站:“这次撕的是命运共同体”. GQ Report.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo – Leading New York During the Pandemic | The Daily Social Distancing Show. (2020, April 23). [Video]. YouTube.

Jenkins, H. (2013, February 6). The Cultural Context of Chinese Fandom: An Interview with Xiqing Zheng(Part Three). Henry Jenkins.

Kollock, P. (1999). Identity and deception in the virtual community. In S. Marc (Ed.), Communities in Cyberspace (pp. 1–32). Routledge.

Mascheroni, G., Vincent, J., & Jimenez, E. (2015). “Girls are addicted to likes so they post semi-naked selfies”: Peer mediation, normativity and the construction of identity online. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 9(1), 1–13.

15 thoughts on “A pathway to fame: from persona performance to online collectivism

  1. Hi Ningyu,

    I found your work to be very interesting and discusses topics that I find myself examining personally. To expand on your points of the attention economy and persona performance, I have recognised the discrepancy between the entertainment industries between the Western and Asian markets. Where entertainment companies seem to manufacture the identities of artists in order to create machines of wealth and attention. For example how Korean pop music has assisted in the expansion of the South Korean economy. The exportation of K-Pop music has manifested South Korean music industry to be worth 5 billion dollars in 2012 (The Economic Times, 2019). With the popular boy group BTS releases music there is a direct effect on the prices of the stock market for South Korean music companies increasing, the BTS management company alone having a net value of over 1 billion dollars. Therefor it is interesting to note the power of the attention economy and performance personas have on the buying behaviours of fans, considering that recently BTS management company Hybe Labels bought an American music company who’s talents include Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and J Balvin, how will this impact performance persons of American artists in the future? Will we find the practices in Asian markets transitioning to Western?

    The Economic Times. (2019). BTS tops Billboard 100 list: How K-pop helped Korea improve its economy. Retrieved from

    1. Hi Casey,
      Thank you so much for the link and comment! Yes, the link about the significant role that the Korean entertainment industry plays in its economy is very much in the context of the entertainment environment I mentioned in the paper. I am glad that more and more people are paying attention to the contrast and characteristics between the entertainment industry in Western and Asia. As you said, the attention economy and the power of fan communities are deeply tied in the entertainment industry of Asian countries, which represents that the status of individual stars in the industry has reached an overflowing degree of significance. Personally, I think that it indicates a form of assembly-line mass production controlled by capital centralization when the entertainment industry plays a heavy role in a country’s economy. However, I don’t think the BTS acquisition will have much impact on American music stars compared to the sophisticated Hollywood system. But the future practice of the Asian market could be difficult to predict, which makes me curious about the industry frame of Indian Bollywood, which is the most experienced and well-known in Asian countries. I believe this may open up other possibilities for developing the entertainment industry in other Asian countries.

      Kindest Regards,

  2. Hello Ningyu,

    I believe you did your research well and asked and raised very good questions regarding social media. I agree with you on numerous points you have made throughout your paper which l found to be of great use and interesting. I am pleased to say that l definitely enjoyed reading this paper and even gained more knowledge in the process. I agree with you in regards to the influences and their mass control over creating trends where they not only benefit from the associated polarity and frame but also the profit and socio-economic captain they gain. This is clearly seen from social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook. I feel inclined to say that majority of followers and creators of these channels and social media outlets can particularly do a great job of informing our society, especially with the new role technology now plays has in transferring information and data to everyone. Some educate, some teach, others explore or unite all while showcasing a variety of cultures to the world and giving different perspectives. However, l do see some influences produce poor content, meaningless discussions, and questions. This contributes very little positive or useful influence or benefits to society, yet they too profit from these organizations financially. Teenagers who are likely to be influenced can pick up these poor and sometimes dysfunctional behaviors. This leads to the question, what people are well producing for society, are we giving them the knowledge to either contribute or disrupt society and all involved?

    1. Hi Gustavo,
      Thank you very much for your comments! Your question is very profound, and I think I will need to think really deep to answer it. Yes, social media stars benefit from polarity and such an FMC(fast-moving consumer) environment, but they are also a product of this industry frame. The rapid development of technology and the impact of digital capitalism on society are part of the root cause of this industrial environment. In my opinion, this is not a problem that can be changed without the interference of government policy. However, we as Internet individuals can always make some changes, and I am wondering if you have any suggestions on how to do that?

      Kindest Regards,


  3. Hi Ningyu,

    Great paper! I was really impressed with the level of research and content you had produced!

    This fascination of internet popularity has grown over the last decade, as ‘Internet celebrities’ have gained widespread fame on social media sites. I agree with your point made that persona performance allows the influencer to create a favourable image. This is made quite evident through the posting of daily content across multiple platforms from those with a high following. It further influences the younger generation to ‘copy’ or act in the same manner with the same end goal of gaining likes and follows. I can admit that I utilise my social media profiles to create a ‘perfect’ image of who I am, I only ever show the good moments in my life to maintain this ‘good’ impression but I’m also guilty of wanting the likes and following.

    I recently watched a documentary that may be of aid to your write up on identity and persona performance and social media stars. The documentary follows three people with small followings attempting to turn themselves into famous influencers by purchasing fake followers to engage with their content and social media accounts. They all meet the requirements for ‘influencer status’ now it’s just utilising and accentuating these requirements to rise to fame. The documentary definitely has some extremes to it, but it covers the main idea that building this preferred persona, promoting themselves in an influencer like way may gain one success and rise in the industry.

    I really enjoyed reading up on your case study as it really intertwines with the newly found term “Cancel Culture” which is the action of pushing someone (usually an influencer) out of social or professional communities- being online, social media or even in person. With your case study being the prime example of a highly regarded person publicly performing ‘unacceptable’ actions.

    Thank you for enlightening me on such a prominent topic!

    1. Hi, Em
      Thank you very much for your time and comments! I reckon you must have researched and been interested in virtual identity and Internet personality as well! I really appreciate your thinking and reference in the comment. As for the documentary you mentioned, I also have come across one criminal case documentary that talks about how excessive profit people made from manipulating accounts to increase the visibility of posts for people on social media platforms. I believe this virtual purchase of fans’ number exists and has frequently occurred in the social media stars industry. If you are interested in a deeper exploration of the case “227 controversy”, besides discussion based on cancel culture, there is also the topic of Internet censorship associated with this case. One of the main consequences of online fighting is that it caused many Internet creators in China to start panicking about malicious reporting against people with different opinions. In this case, what the fans community has done would stimulate a tendency of cultural repression based on a form of neighbourhood censorship, but instead, it’s online. You’re very much welcomed to chat with about this case, if you’d like to!
      Kindest Regards,

  4. Hi Ningyu,
    I really enjoyed reading your paper on the relationship between persona performance and online collectivism. Your essay is well-researched and insightful. I agree that persona performance encourages online collectivism or triggers online collective action in order to manipulate the public’s opinion and for personal gain.

    Nowadays, it has become easy for social media users to be coined as an ‘influencer’ by engaging with their persona performance. This is a way to gain trust and engage with their following, and, this trust can be transpired onto a lot of things including marketing products/films and influencing user’s opinions on certain controversial topics. When using platforms like Instagram, it’s almost inevitable not to come across influencers promoting or marketing products for monetary gains and I’ve certainly been accustomed to some of them which make me question the credibility of such influencers and their motives.

    The example you provided of the ‘227’ controversy is a prime example of how one bad move can either grow one’s fandom or ‘cancel’ one’s fandom and this isn’t a good indicator of how trusting or loyal fans can be as today, the concept of ‘cancel culture’ has become so significant and prevalent that one bad publicity stunt can end one’s career.

    Governments and businesses have definitely utilized the popularity and persona performance of such influencers to further their own agendas. My question to you is whether or not an influencer’s persona performance is enough to persuade people into buying products solely because their ‘face’ is associated with the product. Do you think this publicity stunt attracts people to such products or steer them away

    1. Hi Saranya,

      Wow, thank you so much for bringing up cancel culture! In my opinion, these cultural phenomena are the consequences of each other. Online collectivism could be reflected when the practice of cancel culture evolves from an individual activity to collective activity. However, the overload of similar performance presented by social media stars and the capitals behind them turn to boredom for audiences. An interesting example is Lelush, who recently becomes instant famous on a Chinese hit talent show. Yet he was famous for his passive attitudes towards gaining fame and his rejection to become a pop star despite winning the most of audiences’ votes. There is an idea on the Internet saying that Lelush’s popularity could arguably reflect people’s shifting attitude toward the homogeneity of entertainment companies, which consistently promoted stereotyped boybands. However, for the propaganda of governments and enterprises, the downfall of social media stars would not affect much since they can always have really venerable and qualified influencers as iconic figures, too. The significance is that building up fame and online popularity has become an assembly line production.
      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!


  5. Hi Ningyu, your paper brought up some interesting topics which I enjoyed digesting.

    The content reminded me of a documentary I watched in the past on the dark side of the idol industry. Behind all the smiles and glamour were the carefully crafted personas by talent agencies, the slave-like contracts imposed on new talent, the almost suicidal depression from the incredible stress of the job. So I feel that while the medium has changed, the core concepts of music idols and movie stars have translated well into the social media stars of today. I want to ask you a question on the more intimate connection social media has enabled between celebrities and fans.
    Do you feel that the closer connection between celebrities and fans from social media is positive or negative?

    The other topic I’m concerned about is the accountability of online users. At the moment, online trolls are afforded almost complete anonymity when harassing others and have no fear of liability.
    Where do you feel is a good line between the complete anonymity afforded currently and requiring identification for online services like in some more restrictive countries?

    1. Hi Hao,

      Thanks for your comments! You raised a question with a specific perspective. I like it. As for whether it’s good for celebrities to be more connected to their fans, I am not very sure if you’re asking from a stand the well-being of society or for the celebrities and fans? You might be aware of the unfortunate suicide cases of pop stars over the past two years. Indeed, as you said, social media stars are praised by fans just like movie stars and music idols. Yet regardlessly, their professional skills have not been such required to be on accouplement to the fame due to the unhealthy industry frame. Under such circumstance, trolling becomes an online means of one online group fighting with the other group over different opinions. I agree with you that the anonymous environment is thus not reliable, yet the identifiable virtual environment should promise freedom of speech over sensitive issues. After all, I think morality is more of self-discipline rather than heteronomy. The government will guide network users to improve their sense of responsibility in online communication, but differences of opinion will always exist. I might also wonder how you think about the government’s restrictions on fans’ excessive consumption of social media stars?

      Kindest Regards,

  6. Hi Ningyu,

    I hope you are well!

    I was very impressed with the level of research and academic material you sifted through in order to achieve this well-written and presented argument of relevant content. Since the rapid growth of social networking sites, these applications have become a stepping off point for many content creators such as Jenna Marbles and Nash Grier on such platforms as YouTube, Vine and Instagram. This way social media influencers are able to market a variety of products and services to their followers, I too have become accustomed to the marketing of social media influencers all over my social media, it is practically inescapable! I have noticed due to the success of this rise, actors and singers have adopted these mechanisms into selling their upcoming song and films. This has become the new norm in modern society as we receive updates about the covid situation via online platforms and collaboration with Tv and these social media platforms working together.

    Another interesting point made in your conference paper, the collective use of fandom. Being a part of many fandoms myself, I know the obsessive and borderline intense behaviour that becomes the norm within society, such collective use of like-minded individuals were able to change the decision behind the directors of Brooklyn 99 and Lucifer to continue producing more seasons as fans believed they were robbed of potential seasons and screen time. Presented within my conference paper, the use of like-minded individuals to overcome oppression within society, I will leave the link below for further investigation.

    What do you personally believe is the next step for online social media influencers as the level of consumption and online social media use is constantly increasing?

    1. Hi Che-Anne,

      Thanks very much for your kind comment and link! Topics about social media platforms and online creators are very much worthy of further research. I am glad to know that you are interested in the circumstance that social media platforms have become the primary methods for artists from online and offline to communicate with their audiences. As mentioned in my article, I think it’s the prevalence of the participatory culture that has enabled so many creative platforms to emerge and occupy our lives. I agree with you that it has become a social norm now that we get more information from these online platforms, COVID-19 or other news. In my opinion, online social media stars are a kind of industry assembly line products, and their audience is going through a process from being enthusiastic to being bored. However, the business model of social media stars will not disappear, and that concerns me the most.

      Kindest Regards,

  7. Persona performance is a way to build trust and engage with your followers. Do you think that trust comes from the user showing their face on their platform? A lot of organisations and influencers are using social media managers to keep their engagements consistent online. So how important is it that the face you show in posts and videos is directly related to the brand/persona they’re trying to sell? Especially where you mention social media stars, they need the internet to expand their influence, to be liked and see success of their related movie/show/song. But is it believable they do all these online engagements themselves?

    Your example of “227” controversy and Xiao’s experience is a great example of why online fandoms aren’t the best exercise for showing how loyal fans can be. They can either make or break you. Though they do say there’s no such thing as bad publicity! I heard recently that Netflix show ‘Ginny & Georgia’ was at risk of being cancelled after an actress’s line in the show was seen to be mocking Taylor Swift (Guy, 2021), and her fans responded to the joke by trolling the actress, somewhat taking it too far. It prompts the question of are the stars responsible for their fan’s outbursts?

    There is a lot of influence to be gained in how a user portrays themselves online. I really enjoyed reading your take on this topic!

    Guy, Zoe. 2021. Taylor Swift Fans are Attacking ‘Ginny and Georgia’ Star Antonia Gentry for the Show’s Lame Joke. Marie Claire.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Thank you for the comment! To answer your questions, persona performance is one of the important ways to construct Internet identity. Persona performance of social media stars is not only limited to showing faces, but also showing the profiles of works and lifestyle. Persona performance is a purposeful design and presentation aimed at the preferences of specific groups of audiences. The persona that social media stars show on the platform is far away from their real identity in reality, so I don’t really have experience of being a loyal fan to any star. However, I think there is a common status differential effect existing on the perspective of fans when they perceive any of their idols’ presentation, just like how we look at stories on screen. That is to say, due to the prosperity of participating culture, the Pesona performance of social media stars has been continuously reprocessed by their fans. This kind of processing could be the reverse control of social media stars based on fans’ imagination and creative desire. I mentioned this in my discussion on the industry frame of social media stars in the paper. I think that explains why you think fan communities can achieve or destroy a person’s success. I believe that a public figure should be accountable for what he or she says and does, but as an assembly line product, the very existence of a social media star industry challenges the very definition of an influencer. Because social media stars let agencies have their say in order to ensure that they can continue to profit from fans and even sweep up the different opinions.

      Kindest Regards,

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