IS SO­CIAL ME­DIA FI­NANC­ING IDOLISM?

▶ For­eign­ers in Shang­hai dis­cuss the in­tense cul­ture of su­per­star fan­dom

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - By Du Qiong­fang

Chi­nese-Cana­dian rap­per Kris Wu made head­lines af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the top of the charts on iTunes and beat­ing Amer­i­can pop-singers Ari­ana Grande and Lady

Gaga with seven new songs in the top-10 ear­lier in Novem­ber. It turned out that

the ma­jor­ity of Wu’s songs were down­loaded by de­voted Chi­nese fans who made mul­ti­ple pur­chases per per­son just to sup­port their beloved idol, thereby send­ing the iTunes al­go­rithms into bump­ing the songs up into the top tier.

Chi­nese fans are fa­mously fa­nat­i­cal about their fa­vorite idols. In ad­di­tion to the usual likes, shares and com­ments of Chi­nese idols’ posts on so­cial me­dia, they are also will­ing to spend their own hard-earned money to help boost an idol’s rank­ing on the pop charts.

But what about for­eign fans? Do they act so crazily to sup­port their fa­vorite su­per­stars? The Global Times re­cently hit the streets in Shang­hai to chat with some for­eign­ers about their opin­ions to­ward fan­dom and idol wor­ship.

Nills from Ger­many ad­mit­ted that he is a fan of some celebri­ties, es­pe­cially ath­letes.

“They have a good in­flu­ence on me. They have some­thing I can look up to,” Nills said.

Jule from Ger­many said she is also a fan of cer­tain mu­si­cians and ac­tors. But she thinks mod­ern fan­dom is not re­ally dif­fer­ent from in the past.

“Peo­ple al­ways ad­mire other peo­ple, see them as their in­spi­ra­tion,” Jule said. “But to­day it’s eas­ier to fol­low peo­ple on so­cial me­dia.”

Cana­dian na­tional An­drew said he is a fan of pro­fes­sional sport stars, but he thinks mod­ern fan­dom is a lit­tle crazy.

“It’s out of pro­por­tion. There are more peo­ple de­serv­ing of more at­ten­tion than many other peo­ple who have at­ten­tion. Peo­ple are do­ing things in China and else­where that maybe are not get­ting as much credit as peo­ple on so­cial me­dia do­ing their hair and very friv­o­lous things that are not very mean­ing­ful to peo­ple’s lives,” An­drew told the Global Times.

Valentina from Rus­sia said she is a big fan of fig­ure skat­ing and she fol­lows all in­ter­na­tional fig­ure skat­ing ath­letes.

“The fan in­dus­try nowa­days is evolv­ing, so that they even can fi­nan­cially sup­port celebri­ties,” said Valentina. “For ex­am­ple, fans now can di­rectly send money on­line to them.”

Mat­tia from the US said he is a huge fan of bas­ket­ball celebri­ties.

“There’s now the so­cial me­dia so you feel more con­nected to the stars. It’s awe­some and it’ll be more awe­some in the fu­ture,” Mat­tia said.

The cra­zi­est be­hav­ior

Like Chi­nese fans who of­ten go a bit crazy when show­ing their af­fec­tion and sup­port to

idols, for­eign­ers also have some mad ac­tions.

“If you go back to the time when Justin Bieber was still a big thing, where peo­ple were wait­ing out­side for him just to get a pic­ture, like stop­ping cars try­ing to get some at­ten­tion. That’s re­ally crazy. It goes too far. Es­pe­cially young girls and young men,” Nills said.

Jule said that she has never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like this her­self, but it is very fa­mil­iar with read­ing on the in­ter­net that peo­ple fol­low their celebrity crushes ev­ery­where or stalk them on the in­ter­net.

“I think it’s a bit too much,” Jule told the Global Times.

“If you want to be fa­mous, you also have crazy peo­ple fol­low­ing you. It’s kind of the con­se­quences of life,” Jule added.

An­drew thinks peo­ple are just “over­re­act­ing and scream­ing and cry­ing over celebri­ties and singers.”

Dur­ing Valentina’s teenage years, she was faith­fully fol­low­ing fig­ure skat­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

“Prob­a­bly the cra­zi­est be­hav­ior was, af­ter the event we were wait­ing for them try­ing to ask to take pic­ture to­gether. I don’t think it was some­thing very un­usual. I think all fans do that, be­cause they want to in­ter­act with a celebrity,” Valentina said.

Level heads

Sup­pos­ing our in­ter­vie­wees them­selves were celebri­ties, would they pre­fer if fans were more rational?

Mat­tia said that if he was a bas­ket­ball su­per­star, he would love for his fans to get crazy about him and do crazy things. “It would be awe­some,” Mat­tia said.

Jule prefers more rational fans and thinks that’s what ev­ery­one would say. An­drew also prefers fans who are a lit­tle bit more calm and re­al­is­tic. “Peo­ple should see you as a real per­son as op­posed to some­one above them,” An­drew said.

Valentina also prefers fans who are lev­el­headed. “Of course I don’t like some­one in­ter­fer­ing in my per­sonal life. But at the same time fans can cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing en­vi­ron­ment around a celebrity, and help pro­mote and en­gage more peo­ple,” Valentina said.

Nills prefers fans who are not too nuts. “I think it’s a lot of pres­sure for those celebri­ties be­cause you have fans who look up to you, ad­mire you and wor­ship you. For me as a per­son, I wouldn’t like a lot peo­ple al­ways ob­serv­ing me, watch­ing what­ever I do and judg­ing me,” Nills said.

Photo: VCG

With the pros­per­ity of so­cial me­dia, peo­ple feel more con­nected to their idols.

An­drew Jule Mat­tia

Pho­tos: VCG and Xiang Jun/GT

Nills Valentina

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