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Parasocial relationships and you - where do they exist in your life and are they harming you?

oneida

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
1,873
#1
Before I start I highly, highly recommend that you watch these 2 video essays from the channel StrucciMovies that introduce and explore the role that parasocial relationships play into many people's lives. These videos are rather lengthy but I feel that if you are unfamiliar with the term parasocial they're a very interesting and informative watch, if a bit scary.


Now I consider myself a big fan of the RLM guys, The Mountain Goats, and I used to listen to the Decemberists quite a lot about ten years ago so you can imagine these videos hit pretty close to home for me. I'm thinking about the role that content like this plays in my personal life and I'm curious as to how much other people here engage in these sorts of behaviors, and how worried one should be about that sort of thing. I consider myself to have a reasonably healthy social life, I live with my girlfriend and go out with friends at least once a week. But I nevertheless am now reflecting on what about my favorite media appealed to me as strongly as it did, and what that says about me.

Anyway, thought I'd pass this along and maybe engage with others here about the subject. I think it's pretty interesting and I'd like to hear what you have to say about it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,644
#2
I was going to say, "I don't think I have any para-social friendships," but after watching the first video and understanding that it's a much more broad definition, I can definitely say that I have strong one-sided connections to a lot of the hosts of my favorite podcasts or (formerly) radio programs, so I probably do. A good example for me is the NFL Around the League podcast, where I've been listening for.. ~7ish years, since the beginning, 3x a week basically every week, and so that's hundreds and hundreds of hours of listening to the same ~4 guys every week, where you can't help but make one-sided relationships with them. Back in the day, I had similar connections with regional radio shows, where you listen to the same show every day for an hour or two a day, you develop these one-sided relationships with the hosts where you feel like you know them and they start to kind of feel like your friends.

The second video wasn't working for me, but in particular, you mention the Decemberists and Mountain Goats, two bands that I've also listened to a lot throughout the years, how do they connect? The Decemberists have that recent song... 'The Singer Addresses his Audience,' or whatever it is called, which seems to be kind of like a ... response to the over-protective fan, the one who never wants the band to change and only play the weird songs from their first album, or what have you.
 
Oct 22, 2018
3,905
#3
sometimes when I listen to an episode of retronauts I'll yell back at the radio
"oh come the fuck ON bob sonic adventure is a good game"
"what no, the snes didn't have an internal synth -- just a white noise generator"
"alex kidd in shinobi world would have been a classic if they produced more than like 50 copies"
 
OP
OP
oneida

oneida

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
1,873
#4
The second video wasn't working for me, but in particular, you mention the Decemberists and Mountain Goats, two bands that I've also listened to a lot throughout the years, how do they connect? The Decemberists have that recent song... 'The Singer Addresses his Audience,' or whatever it is called, which seems to be kind of like a ... response to the over-protective fan, the one who never wants the band to change and only play the weird songs from their first album, or what have you.
I don't want to misrepresent the author's argument so here's another link to the second video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLA-uFKjQ-g
Mountain Goats bit starts around the 48 minute mark.
 
Oct 27, 2017
292
#6
I actually looked into parasocial relationships recently to help reflect on my interactions with Twitch streamers, and how it can affect my life. I've been coming out the other end of a bad relationship and it's easy to latch onto people who always seem happy to "see" you; you start to make their streams appointment television that you don't want to miss.

It helped to understand that they're just people; sometimes they are in it for the internet fame, sometimes not. Being able to speak to streamers on discord helps, though, with making them an actual interactive person. I feel like I recognize bad behavior in some other people who sub to them, and want to avoid it. The whole concept is pretty fascinating.
 
Oct 26, 2017
13,444
#8
I've been thinking about this a lot. Mostly due to Twitch. Twitch is rathe interesting because you can actually have interaction with these streamers unlike podcasts. However, it can feel like a real friendship. Personally, what helps me is looking at all these people as entertainers, not friends.

Streaming is a fascinating medium from a social experiment POV.

But we are humans, an embodied species. I fully believe we need real embodied connections. Online just doesn't cut it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
642
Chicago, IL
#10
I’ve got some - I’ve been listening to Bodega Boys / watching Desus & Mero for a while, and that’s probably the biggest one. But I’m detached enough from it that it doesn’t affect me negatively. I think, anyway.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,196
Massachusetts
#11
It's an interesting phenomenon to me, personally, because it seems like something I would be pretty susceptible to. In general I'm a pretty solitary person, but these sort of relationships (that scratch the itch of a relationship without any effort) just feel weird to me. I follow "content creators," but they're almost always traditional content - uploaded regularly, edited, produced, and made into a product.

I listen to, say, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. But he's not my friend, he's not talking to me in particular. He's like a lecturer or a narrator. I actually had to Google his name because I couldn't remember it (Dan something?) - I think of the product first, the people producing it second.

Makes me wonder how this differs between older internet users (back when people were all just anonymous, faceless usernames) and younger users (who have been interacting more transparently with social media). I'm not very open/trusting in real life, and doubly so on the internet.

Definitely bookmarking the videos for later - it's an interesting subject. I know Lindsay Ellis did a short one on a similar topic...
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,661
#12
I didn't know there was a term for this. Besides my girlfriend and my family I guess all my relationships are parasocial ones.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,421
New York
#13
Pretty sure I've never developed any real parasocial relationships and it's something that always interested and confused me since my earliest memories as a kid. Well before the internet culture really took off, but especially since then. I was just bewildered at the deep deep love and obsession people had for actors, musicians and celebs in general, as well the sense of an intimate connection with them or ownership over their work that often developed. I've never developed any kind of strong relationship or sense of ownership/inclusion in the media I consume and I've never developed any kind of serious affection for the people or groups whose media I watch on the regular today on the internet. I consume tons of media and I've become invested in plenty of them, but rarely do I ever bother to really learn anything about those people creating it or really aligning my identity with it. And yet I'm an extremely solitary person like many who tend to be heavily susceptible to this kind of stuff. Even on Era where I spend an inordinate amount of time and consume most of my news and interactions it's a very arms length type thing.

I find a lot of these social media personalities rather off putting to begin with precisely because so much of their content involves this weird attempt at intimacy and sharing of life details. It's why I never got into vloggers, Twitch streamers, etc. Even the podcasts I listen to I bounce back and forth on because they often involve so much of that. The false sense of friendship and intimacy is really fucking creepy to me, like I don't know you bro. I'm not trying to disparage or look down on people for enjoying this stuff, just that this is how I've always felt when viewing it. It's simply not for me.

I became really evident of this difference when around 12-14 all my friends became obsessed with Nirvana and Kurt Cobain and similar figures. They really developed a serious relationship with the idea of him and everything about the music. They poured over every detail of his life and style and thoughts and I was just like "Yeah I think it's good music," while they were co-opting it into their very identity and views on life. Boy bands were also in their prime when my social group entered puberty, that obsession and mania was out of this world.

Hell RPGs both western and Japanese are among my favorites and I never felt like I was the character in the stories even when it was a fully custom character. I almost always create characters that are distinctly not me or some kind of deliberate facsimile but a character and role very much outside myself that I am playing. NPCs aren't my friends, they're the character I'm playing's friends.
 
Oct 26, 2017
276
#14
I specifically seek out loose, conversational podcasts for this reason. Listening in on a group of people chat can fulfill my social needs to some extent.

It's a nice substitute for an introverted person like me who sometimes wants that feeling of being with people but is too tired to actually hang out with friends at the moment.

The first string parasocial relationship I ever developed wash when I found the Comedy Button podcast years ago. I think it was beneficial because it helped get me through a depressing time in my life. Interesting that there's a term for this.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
2,630
#15
I didn’t realize there was a word for this, so now I have to say that I definitely do not have any parasocial relationships at least since grade school where the only interaction I had with the principal was their daily morning announcements. I think they’re weird and I don’t relate to people who become engrossed with podcasts or instagram celebrities that they don’t personally know. When I was younger I had a fondness for some musicians but it’s basically just evolved into admiration of them as a person and nothing more.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,136
#17
Pretty sure I've never developed any real parasocial relationships and it's something that always interested and confused me since my earliest memories as a kid. Well before the internet culture really took off, but especially since then. I was just bewildered at the deep deep love and obsession people had for actors, musicians and celebs in general, as well the sense of an intimate connection with them or ownership over their work that often developed. I've never developed any kind of strong relationship or sense of ownership/inclusion in the media I consume and I've never developed any kind of serious affection for the people or groups whose media I watch on the regular today on the internet. I consume tons of media and I've become invested in plenty of them, but rarely do I ever bother to really learn anything about those people creating it or really aligning my identity with it. And yet I'm an extremely solitary person like many who tend to be heavily susceptible to this kind of stuff. Even on Era where I spend an inordinate amount of time and consume most of my news and interactions it's a very arms length type thing.

I find a lot of these social media personalities rather off putting to begin with precisely because so much of their content involves this weird attempt at intimacy and sharing of life details. It's why I never got into vloggers, Twitch streamers, etc. Even the podcasts I listen to I bounce back and forth on because they often involve so much of that. The false sense of friendship and intimacy is really fucking creepy to me, like I don't know you bro. I'm not trying to disparage or look down on people for enjoying this stuff, just that this is how I've always felt when viewing it. It's simply not for me.

I became really evident of this difference when around 12-14 all my friends became obsessed with Nirvana and Kurt Cobain and similar figures. They really developed a serious relationship with the idea of him and everything about the music. They poured over every detail of his life and style and thoughts and I was just like "Yeah I think it's good music," while they were co-opting it into their very identity and views on life. Boy bands were also in their prime when my social group entered puberty, that obsession and mania was out of this world.

Hell RPGs both western and Japanese are among my favorites and I never felt like I was the character in the stories even when it was a fully custom character. I almost always create characters that are distinctly not me or some kind of deliberate facsimile but a character and role very much outside myself that I am playing. NPCs aren't my friends, they're the character I'm playing's friends.
Holy shit, are you me? Based on the Nirvana mentions and ages you're only a hair older than me and have basically an identical perspective on this sort of thing.

I watched parts of both videos, and I definitely do not have anything resembling a parasocial relationship. Every 'content creator', musician, online content creator, character, whatever, I feel no real emotional attachment to. I will certainly enjoy, follow, and have emotional reactions to the actual creations, but all in a very encapsulated manner. They're just people out there somewhere making something I like, not much different than whoever makes my favorite yogurt. Maybe it's that books are basically my benchmark for my perspective on media, and they seem much harder to have a parasocial relationship with (at least any of the books I've read)

I suppose the creator I would have gotten closest to having a parasocial relationship with would be Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam was probably the first band (along with Nirvana) I was every hugely into, and still follow to this day, but at no point have they been anything more than someone that makes music I like. I'd probably be bummed if they stopped making music or decided to exclusively do pop-country style songs, but that's about the extent of my emotional reaction. Basically about as emotionally attached to them as I am to my car. I mean I really enjoy it (a GTI) and keep tabs on what's coming down the line for it, but it's just a car. I did get pissed when Ford yanked the FiST/FoST/FoRS trio from the states in favor of trucks, but that was mostly because I was looking forward to a next gen version of those and there was going to be one less choice in the hot hatch market.

I feel I have a high capacity for empathy but this is one of those things I struggle to understand from the 'in their shoes' perspective. It's just so alien to me and I don't really have a good frame of reference to build from on it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,348
Austin, TX
#18
I definitely like podcasts, and there are actors and musicians and artists who I am fond of, but I don't think I'd qualify any of those as parasocial relationships. I guess I've always considered something like that wholly unhealthy, so I try to distance myself from that sort of thing.

Thing is, though, I get very deeply obsessed with artists I like, but never to the point where I believe myself to be in some sort of one-sided relationship with. It could, however, be simply a problem of perception. Although I'm never expecting anything from the "relationship" between me and artists, as there is no pre-supposition of a give and take (or in this case take and take).

Interesting topic, though.
 
OP
OP
oneida

oneida

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
1,873
#20
Reading some of the replies here I feel the need to iterate that we could be participating in a parasocial relationship without being aware of it or without it being on some of the extremer ends of fan culture. For instance I think understanding the appeal of RLM content necessitates some participation in the 'just hanging out' aspect of their videos. You don't need to drive your car into the river to be a participant in a relationship like this.
 

Jims

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
905
#21
I definitely can feel the sort of parasocial relationship thing with podcasts. I listen to them at work in my earbuds and it does kind of feel like you're sitting at a coffee shop with people discussing a movie or whatever. I think it's really important to have that perspective that that barrier is there and that you can get a sense of people's personalities and actually like them, but don't really know them intimately and know how they operate.

It's easy to take things hard, though, when things don't work out on stuff you follow. Like, I listen to both Laser Time and Talking Simpsons, and when that crew went through their break-up, I got really bummed out about it. Like friends I know stopped speaking and it was almost implied that you had to take sides. Bob is terrible!!! No, Chris is terrible!!! But that implied sides-taking was ridiculous, of course, at least at the personal level. It was really more of a question of whether both/either show is still worth listening and are providing good content still. I feel like these parasocial relationships cause a lot of the giant divides between fandoms when some drama happens. It's kind of sad but it's human nature, I guess.

I can kind of feel the parasocial relationships from the other side too doing my YouTube channel. It's kind of weird. I feel kinda pressured to not disappoint people who have a parasocial bond through the channel. The need to keep that barrier between me and them for boundaries purposes, but to care about people as individuals that you don't want your work to create problems for them or others. I feel like YouTube in particular has issues with creators sometimes not recognizing the responsibility of their side of the parasocial relationship, and weaponizing their influence against whoever they are feuding with.
 
Oct 22, 2018
3,905
#23
Oh right, I forgot to mention that these days I'm going with Steak-Umms and Sunny D to group therapy sessions. It's been helping us all a lot. I got Sunny D's permission to say they have a lot more to live for these days
 
Oct 25, 2017
740
#24
Mine are pretty healthy, I guess? As are most pople’s? Bunch of podcast people and the guys from GB. I think it’s pretty cool to have a familiar voice to listen to.
 
OP
OP
oneida

oneida

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
1,873
#25
Oh right, I forgot to mention that these days I'm going with Steak-Umms and Sunny D to group therapy sessions. It's been helping us all a lot. I got Sunny D's permission to say they have a lot more to live for these days
Thank you for establishing that you are above any introspection into your interaction with media, your jokes are hilarious and this thread is all the better for them
 
Oct 22, 2018
3,905
#26
Thank you for establishing that you are above any introspection into your interaction with media, your jokes are hilarious and this thread is all the better for them
Well I guess for me my relationship to this stuff is, as I said, informed by the fact that I'm a fairly reclusive sort and the main reason I do most socialization-of-sorts on the internet is that it means there's already an inherently-enforced boundary to it all. When it comes to stuff like podcasts most of what I listen to is heavily scripted or structured like This American Life or The Beef and Dairy Network. I do listen to more free-wheeling stuff like MBMBAM but it usually just sort of becomes background noise as either my own cultural references are so far apart from theirs or my approach to viewing the world so different that I feel less like I am getting any sort of social reinforcement as I am being a traveler in a foreign country or an alien on a separate planet.

When it comes to something like Comedy Bang Bang, I watch this slightly less as a matter of "just folks hanging out" or whatever and more because I genuinely am interested in comedy as a craft. Sometimes I do like to think about the sorts of characters I would want to play on an improv show like this. I think the tension of the parasocial nature associated with RLM is part of the reason that the show works so well, because it's structured a lot like late-night interview shows of the Leno and Conan variety where celebrities usually come up with odd or embarrassing discussions that try to put them on a similar footing with just folks and remind us that amidst all the glitz and glamor that they're not as special as they're sold as being. What makes CBB interesting is that it does this with the obvious fact that beyond all this performative humanity, most of the people there are doing it with specific masks on. The show is, if it is about anything, performing that performative humanity. Adding the extra layer of abstraction makes the nature of the interactions more clear, in a way. Easier to get at the root of the "I want to have a beer with this person" feeling when it is obvious that the person in question is a persona, a character being played.

When it comes to the weird grey areas here, I certainly don't bother following many big names on Twitch and in general I don't even watch those sorts of streams so much any more. When I do watch game stuff it's either longplays or other stuff (like GDQ) where any sort of personality by the participants is a secondary concern to the actual game content. Usually anyone I'm watching content of (especially these days!) is someone I also interact with outside of Twitch, so it's only parasocial in the sense that most of my interactions with others are pretty shallow.

Most socialization is performative anyway. "How are you?" "Fine, you" "Doin' OK, lookin' forward to making burritos later" is what you hear, not "How are you?" "I remain alienated by the desire of my fellow humans to seek actual meaning in a universe where our existence is matter-of-fact and not evidence of any grander scheme. As always I can only hope for the world to be less painful to others, especially the pain we bring on ourselves. And yet, despite saying this, I picked up Sonic '06 the other day and started playing it, as the struggle and frustration is a reminder on some level of what it means to be human". Frankly, while the latter would be more honest to my internal thought process, it sure is solipsistic, isn't it?

One of my favorite musicians is Manfred Mann and there's certainly a sort of alignment between my own views on life and what I understand his to be based on interviews I've read or listened to. He's notorious for being a bit aggressive against interviewers and tends to be very unromantic both about his work ("sure, every interviewer says we're still selling out shows, but they don't mention they're much smaller halls!") and views on politics (with regards to the hippie movement and some of John Lennon's peace stuff: "if you walked up to a policeman in south africa and tried to stick a flower in his gun, they'd shoot you"). His view on touring these days is that he's not so concerned with success as he is about being able to play with folks he gets along with, and the process of touring is getting on a bus to some random German village and playing. It's not about getting in touch with the locals or trying the delicacy or visiting the town's prized architecture or anything like that -- it's playing the gig and making a living. I would assume that he's being fairly representative of himself in those discussions, and I find it refreshing that there's someone else who holds openly, for lack of a better term, mechanistic views of the industry rather than a particularly romantic one (though given that some of his greater commercial success was in the same-named band from the 60s and he rather openly rejected the pop market starting with the album the above song is taken from, his lack of romanticism of the market is strongly coupled with his decisions as a musician and probably relates to this frustration with some interviewers), as it's a voice that I can strongly relate to.

Whether or not that last paragraph is an irony is left as an exercise for the reader.
 
Oct 27, 2017
934
#28
i didnt even know this was a thing. This kind of explains why people get so fucking butt hurt of #metoo when their fav actors are called on bullshit. I would probably try and support my "friends" in this.
 
Oct 27, 2017
461
#30
Hmm interesting. Mine is with Adrienne from yoga with Adrienne. Doing the videos from her home with her dog, goofy jokes and unedited rambling all add to the feeling I know her to some degree.

The nature of yoga means I feel better after a session and she has videos for various moods so I guess that mimics a friend cheering me up.

The fact we actually are doing the same thing must play a part too, it's not just passive viewing/listening like with a presenter or actor.

She has a bit of a cult following too. I got recommended her videos and the people irl I've talked to about them all have a certain zeal towards her.

Don't there's any harm, the opposite.actually as her welcoming style has kept me doing something thats had a positive effect in my life.
 
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Oct 29, 2017
9,530
Essex, UK
#32
I'm brutally self-aware so there's never any danger of this. I love RLM etc but it never gets close to feeling like a dependency or that I'm anything more than a click to them.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,306
#33
This was definitely a thing for me back in high school, largely because I was extremely depressed and started getting ostracized from my social group at the time. I grew up sheltered and not-the -greatest at socializing and teens can get pretty cruel to each other. I latched on to the Wii-k in Review with Matt Cassimassina and Mark Bozon right around the release of Metroid Prime 3. From there I branched to Gamescoop, Gamespy Debriefings and so on. My draw was that I liked hearing the inside stuff that IGN could only talk about by podcast, but I started picking up social mannerisms and worldviews from it that I otherwise would never have cracked. As weird as it sounds, I owe a whole lot of both my ability to overcome that time in my life and my ability to create legitimate, healthy social relationships because of the parasocial stuff.
 
Oct 22, 2018
3,905
#34
Exhibit A is probably Jake Gyllenhaal correcting Dan Gilroy in a moment surely intended to go viral where he mispronounces the word melancholy. An excellent commentary on the vapidity of Hollywood, singled out and reported on by a site called "The Hollywood Reporter" that just so happens to have also done the interview in question.

Exhibit B is this interview with Mann and his fellow Earth Band members from early in their time as a group. He mentions at around 3 minutes in a dissatisfaction with the pageantry of his time with the pop scene ("nobody was really listening to the music once you got on stage...if anything was exciting you'd jump around and sucked your cheeks in"). I recalled him mentioning being interested in trying to convey melancholy (there's that word again!) in his musical ideas in this interview but I think I might have confused it with a different interview?

And then Exhibit C is the comment in the second video above by one markus kills:
IN 1972 all the "progressive" bands (even The Faces) wanted to look unglamorous, decent, non-star. natural, serious musicians. Here the interviewer is in serious trouble, because the musicians pretend being so shy.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,733
#35
There are different levels of this, I think.

Back when Giant Bomb was great (first office-era), I loved all their content. I really wished I worked with them to a point where me & some others started a video games website and weekly podcast. That was probably the closest I felt to people who didn't know I existed. Giant Bomb never connected too much with their audience like Twitch streamers do today. If they had I would have experienced this much moreso. Overall, however, this whole experience inspired me greatly in my life and led to a lot of positive changes and experiences.

Other than that, I've probably felt this with fictional characters. Like I just finished a full series rewatch of Deep Space 9 and I felt close to those characters.

There's a small handful of streamers I watch today, but even streamers who have mere dozens or hundreds of viewers, I never have the illusion that they are connecting with me at all, so I feel almost nothing.


Based on the video definition, I haven’t had a parasocial relationship.

Good videos, thanks for the heads up OP. When we created the website, we didn't consider anything parasocial intentionally. Now the 'manipulation' of this is so written into our social media dogma that all the steps are just 'what you do'. There is definitely something noteworthy about how parasocial relationship forming is almost engraved into our zeitgeist.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
4,348
Austin, TX
#36
Exhibit A is probably Jake Gyllenhaal correcting Dan Gilroy in a moment surely intended to go viral where he mispronounces the word melancholy. An excellent commentary on the vapidity of Hollywood, singled out and reported on by a site called "The Hollywood Reporter" that just so happens to have also done the interview in question.

Exhibit B is this interview with Mann and his fellow Earth Band members from early in their time as a group. He mentions at around 3 minutes in a dissatisfaction with the pageantry of his time with the pop scene ("nobody was really listening to the music once you got on stage...if anything was exciting you'd jump around and sucked your cheeks in"). I recalled him mentioning being interested in trying to convey melancholy (there's that word again!) in his musical ideas in this interview but I think I might have confused it with a different interview?

And then Exhibit C is the comment in the second video above by one markus kills:
Is your point that some celebrities are intentionally trying to act "friendly" towards their audience in order for them to form a bond or kinship with them ("putting on a show"), and yet some do the opposite on purpose? Because to that I'd agree. I don't know how relevant your points are regarding this thread, but I have found both your posts fascinating, fwiw.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,348
Austin, TX
#37
Oh right, I forgot to mention that these days I'm going with Steak-Umms and Sunny D to group therapy sessions. It's been helping us all a lot. I got Sunny D's permission to say they have a lot more to live for these days
Man, this is a good point. It seems brands are intentionally "friendifying" themselves in the eyes of the consumer, so the consumer is more likely to spend money on them. Not only does it anthrompomorphize brands, it also makes us feel like they are our friends, since they have opinions on social media, tell jokes, and (minimally) interact with *some* of us. It's like it is tapping into our mutual need to be connected to eachother. Kinda dystopian, if you think about it.
 

Shy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,862
#39
Here's a link for an excellent podcast, that Shannon Strucci guests on to talk about this very topic.

Here's the pod description.
"I am joined by video essayist Shannon Strucci to discuss the mammoth second entry in her Fake Friends series: FAKE FRIENDS EPISODE TWO: parasocial hell.

This episode was recorded under the assumption you have probably watched part one and part two of this series. It's around 2.5 hours of high-level insight, fantastic editing and in-depth research. It is well worth it if you have any interest at all in the internet."

Please give this a listen, it's such a podcast in general.
 
Dec 1, 2017
2,415
The Land
#42
Man, this is a good point. It seems brands are intentionally "friendifying" themselves in the eyes of the consumer, so the consumer is more likely to spend money on them. Not only does it anthrompomorphize brands, it also makes us feel like they are our friends, since they have opinions on social media, tell jokes, and (minimally) interact with *some* of us. It's like it is tapping into our mutual need to be connected to eachother. Kinda dystopian, if you think about it.
I'm going to eat at Wendy's today, I've been eating at Arby's a lot more lately and I don't want Wendy's to feel like I don't like them as much.
 
OP
OP
oneida

oneida

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
1,873
#43
Here's a link for an excellent podcast, that Shannon Strucci guests on to talk about this very topic.

Here's the pod description.
"I am joined by video essayist Shannon Strucci to discuss the mammoth second entry in her Fake Friends series: FAKE FRIENDS EPISODE TWO: parasocial hell.

This episode was recorded under the assumption you have probably watched part one and part two of this series. It's around 2.5 hours of high-level insight, fantastic editing and in-depth research. It is well worth it if you have any interest at all in the internet."

Please give this a listen, it's such a podcast in general.
I will, thank you!
 
Oct 25, 2017
707
#44
i didnt even know this was a thing. This kind of explains why people get so fucking butt hurt of #metoo when their fav actors are called on bullshit. I would probably try and support my "friends" in this.
Which is exactly why I hate these sorts of relationships. I dont mind creators egging it on because they want to pay their bills but I find it silly when people defend folks they dont know personally to the death
 
Oct 25, 2017
898
#46
I only watch streamers without interacting with them. there are a few I can tolerate (who I watch regularly), some of them even try to clean up their language, which I can appreciate. but there are instances like the release of RE7 where I switched 4 streams because they all made the same rape joke at a particular scene in the game. I ended up watching a girl streamer, which was fine until her boyfriend showed up and everyone was suddenly discussing if he gets cucked tonight.
 
Oct 22, 2018
3,905
#47
I was irked by what I interpreted as your belittling of this subject and I apologize for that mischaracterization.
It's fine. I don't blame you for that -- it was a flip response. This is an issue whose core tenet is that we can't really know the feelings of others beyond what they say, and people can and do lie about it.

I think part of my flip response comes from having watched the second video without the first and getting a while into it (this is a two hour video!) and finding that it was a lot of content but lacked any coherent thesis or judgement about the phenomenon beyond its existence. That's not inherently wrong but got me very confused about why so many people liked to cite the video when it was new. But I guess that the whole point of the parasocial relationship is that it is a signifier lacking the signified, and it's hard to make judgement on something that is almost-by-definition a lack of content.

I really liked Lindsay Ellis's video on this subject because it goes into detail about how even being mundane or melancholy is part of this parasocial relationship, that feeds into a perception of openness with an audience that usually lacks a basic foundation. In the case of real artists who are suffering this can have devastating consequences; fundamentally, public interaction is not therapy. It's more like a particularly brutal co-dependency, which is likely one of the reasons you see so many people in fame turn into burnouts or addicts -- because it's part of the relationship with the public, and the harm is on both ends. And it's not new either. Shane MacGowan (formerly of the Pogues) has a history of drug abuse and related bad decisions, and this had a lot to do with where he was performing and the people he was performing for. He cites several reasons for eventually becoming sober, but the mention there of how Sinead O'Connor called the cops on him because of his heroin use, which helped him eventually drop the habit shocks me. While I can't speak to the nature of policing in Ireland (American here), that's unthinkable for me to do even for someone I care about, and I can't imagine any mere fan of anyone trying to use a drastic measure such as that to get them to quit any such habit.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,960
#48
So you're telling me that Luke Smith, Garnet Lee, Shane Bettenhausen and Jon Davidson WEREN'T my best friends 15 years ago?
BRB gotta reexamine everything about my life
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,043
#49
No

Because I get bored of things very easily and go back, I drive myself mental with the amount of things and people I like and can quickly tire of one after a week, or month or year it depends, but I won’t necessarily stick with one over another either.

Also I do not like chatting live with like live streamers because I am extremely anti social, maybe the odd one sentence, despite the amount of posts I have on here and other forums, you see to me it feels different, it’s more like a notice board where I can post something and come back to it (the same conversation) minutes or even hours later maybe with a new Reflection on it whereas chat your expected to react to a conversation in real time.
 
Nov 14, 2017
8,292
#50
They are entertainers but nothing wrong with forming these 'relationships' as long as they don't harm you or others and you are aware they are internet personalities. Some are dangerous