Abigail Garrett


Communication Studies

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Marcella Szablewicz

Document Type



This study aims to examine the ways that fan accounts on social media foster community and fill the void of emotional engagement when the artist is not as active. It also looks at how fans’ parasocial relationships change when the subject of their emotional connection disappears. This study adds to previous research done on fandom, parasocial relationships, and social media. To perform this study, a close content analysis was done, focusing on one specific Harry Styles fan account on Twitter, @hsdaily. Two time periods were defined, one being a time of low activity from Harry Styles and one being high activity. All of the tweets from these two periods were gathered and analyzed for similar themes and behaviors regarding community and emotional engagement. There were three main themes found across the tweets and replies: creating vs holding space, spreading information, and prompting discussion. A further analysis of specific tweets reveals exactly how this fan account encouraged fans to get engaged with Harry’s music and each other to keep their connection to him in focus even when he is not available. The account also acts as a resource for information relating to Harry Styles and a common place for fans to come together and bond over their shared interest. This fan account was able to fill in the void left behind when Harry was not as active, maintaining fans’ relationship with him in his absences. Further research may look deeper into how exactly these parasocial relationships manifest themselves into fans’ behaviors and whether these findings hold true across other fan accounts and other social media sites.

Included in

Social Media Commons