Social media stars, intimacy and campaigning

The emergence of social media stars and their influence in campaigning

YouTube is one of those social media platforms in which we see people performing in a variety of ways, with professional or ‘self – made amateur videos’ (Dijck, 2013, p 110) and many of those people have eventually become who we now call: social media stars, celebrities or social media influencers.

Social Media Stars Playlist to entertain your reading

Some of these people who have become successful in social media, regardless if this fame came on purpose or out of the blue, have recently become new interesting and powerful assets to support online campaigns for non-profit organizations .

It has been commonly believed that having a celebrity supporting a campaign will bring thousands of supporters, which is generally the case. However, the new trend seems to be having social media ‘celebrities’ or stars running the show.

Why has this happened?

“The ability for individuals to communicate and produce mediated content on a mass scale has led to opportunities for fame that were not available outside of the established culture industries before” (Baym,  2010, p16)

Why are social media stars becoming more powerful than celebrities to endorse campaigns?

The intimacy created with people you share interests with through social media, which involve different degrees of self-disclosure (Bazarova and Choi, 2014), plus the time people spend interacting in social media platforms compared to the time they invest watching TV, reading magazines or newspapers, seem to be some of the reasons why social media stars appear to be stronger when attracting attention and influence people.

Social Media Star – Sophie Hannah Richardson – Beauty Blogger Based in Essex – UK, Source

Some of these platforms allow us to create “emotional spaces” (Hallam, 2012) as explained in The Social Media Manifesto that permit certain type of interactions to take place, where people connect with family or friends to be entertained (Hallam, 2012). As opposed to those that create “rational spaces” where people connect to find information or opinions about a service, such as forums (Hallam, 2012).

Some of these platforms allow us to create “emotional spaces” (Hallam, 2012)

In any of the spaces described above, people can build a more intimate way to relate to other people while also be more autonomous and abler to manipulate their interactions in any way they want to (Baym, 2010). This means, that for the purpose of campaigns communications, interacting in social media gives us the ability to decide who we support and who we don’t.

Why do people support social media stars campaigning initiatives?

Social Media Star Taryn Southern who participated in the DigDeep #4Liters water challenge appears on the featured image on this post that was taken from: .

Note to readers: This post is part of my reflections of Critical Issues in Campaigning at the University of Westminster MA in Media Campaigning and Social Change.


Baym, N.K. (2010). Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Bazarova, N. N. and Choi, Y. H. (2014). Self-Disclosure in Social Media: Extending the Functional Approach to Disclosure Motivations and Characteristics on Social Network Sites. Journal of Communication. International Communication Association. ISSN 0021-9916. Department of Communication, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 18450, USA. Available from:

Dijck, J. (2013). The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hallam, J. (2012). The Social Media Manifesto . [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 5 January 2017).