Fandom, Music and Personal Relationships through Media: How Teenagers Use Social Networks



adolescents, social networks, music celebrities, community, multimodality


This paper analyses the practices and products of the One Direction fan community, focusing on the interaction of adolescent girls with certain types of texts present on social networks. We examine how adolescents approach music celebrities when they participate in fandom online and offline communities, supported by online social networks that rely on the use of multimodal semiotic resources. We adopt an ethnographic perspective, mixing narrative and analytical interpretations, and seeking to overcome the contrasts between them. The following results are discussed: first, we examine how teens admire particular celebrities and turn them into heroes. They value positively the fact that celebrities have an offline life and exclude possible constructed celebrities only supported by virtual reality. Second, social networks become frames of textual interpretation from which the meaning of multimodal texts are elaborated. Adolescent participation for building and understanding their heroes is related with different levels of activity, depending on their use of the Internet. Finally, girls move around fan communities in online and offline areas, both of them closely intertwined. Keywords: adolescents, social networks, music celebrities, community, multimodality

Author Biographies

Pilar Lacasa, University of Alcalá

Department of Philology, Communication and Documentation

Laura Méndez Zaballos, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid

Department of Developmental Psychology and Education

Julián de la Fuente Prieto, University of Alcalá, Madrid

Department of Philology, Communication and Documentation Julián de la Fuente Prieto holds a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Communication Studies. Working as an independent producer and director since 2002, he has made all kinds of audiovisual materials such as ads, reports and music clips. He has also created holographic facilities, 3D projections and interactive apps. He has several publications on film and history and has conducted several outreach projects for film heritage. He currently teaches at Universidad Europea de Madrid and the University of Alcalá.



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