The expansion of media has really created opportunities for everyone and if you have talent, you can go on. One can get popularity easily as compared to the past. Fans nowadays are crazy for their idols: what are they wearing; where are they going; what are they up to; and who are they hanging out with; thanks to paparazzi who provide minute to minute details of celebrities to their fans.

We can see the huge following of celebrities on social websites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and they have literally millions of followers. Before social media and social networking became the latest craze, the general population was almost completely out of touch with their favourite celebrities. The rumours and truths about celebrities, the general population always come to know via the latest news report and many of them even don’t know. Social media allows fans to know where their favourite celebrities are, what they are doing, what they are thinking and just about anything else the population could possibly want to know. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter make celebrities to be completely interactive with their fans. Fans copy the famous, buy dresses that are similar or even the same, fans wear their hair the way their idol does in an attempt to capture the glamour they admire such as famous hair styles by footballers.

Being fascinated by and attracted to celebrities is neither new nor abnormal. Researchers coined the term parasocial interaction in the 1950s to describe the relationships consumers felt they shared with early television performers and personalities. Research suggests that, for young people, the parallels between their feelings for celebrities and their feelings for people in their own lives can play a role in developing their conception of self and their perception of relationships.

A study in human communication research surveyed young adults and found that 90 percent felt a strong attraction to a celebrity at some point in their lives, and 75 percent reported “strong attachments” to more than one celebrity. Another study found that 30 percent of young people expressed a desire to actually be the celebrity. It is called celebrity worship syndrome. It is an obsessive-addictive disorder in which a person becomes overly involved with the details of a celebrity’s personal life. Psychologists have indicated that though many people obsess over film, television, sports and pop stars, the only common factor among them is that they are all celebrities and are very active on social websites. We can see huge following on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. These are the primary sources of connection with fans. Fame is a powerful magnet people follow what a famous person says, does more than those of an ordinary person. Fans don’t care whether it is right or wrong. Advertising agencies use celebrities to advertise their brands because people tend to buy products because of their favourite celebrities. Celebrities also take part in welfare activities and also invite their fans to do so which is beneficial for organisations as even United Nations appoints celebrities for human welfare activities as their ambassadors. There is no harm in following one’s favourite celebrities but one should not try to do everything what one’s favourite celebrities do.

—The writer Ayesha Hayat Abbasi is a student of MSc mass communication at QAU.