Opinion: Celebrity fan bases and the power of influence

Social media plays a huge role in our lives.

People of all walks of life share the same spaces on Twitter, Instagram, etc. However, also sharing those spaces are people with a lot more than just a few hundred or thousand followers. Celebrities and even companies like Wendy’s or Starbucks have millions and millions of followers on some platforms. With all these people they can reach and send messages to, it begs the question: should they?

Celebrities are people just like everyone else, and they deserve to do what any other person does. If a famous person wants to have a social media account somewhere then they should. However, many celebrities have two accounts, a public one for fans and all the rest of the world, and a private one with all of their actual friends. The reach they have on their public accounts is huge, and the messages they send out have equal reach.

On a personal account, your friends, family, some people you’re at least semi-close to see it. These are people who know you, have a general idea of who you are and what you might say. For celebrities with their public accounts, the majority of followers are just random fans. Fans who don’t know them, who don’t know their real personal views, who don’t know how they’ll react to certain statements.

Your favorite actress tweets out positively about a certain political figure that you happen to disdain. Now, you’re boycotting her and for what? Because she has a different viewpoint on something than you? Or even if you do agree on a view, that person just ostracized a portion of her following. It could be neither.

Your favorite actress could come completely out of left field spewing nonsense that any reasonable person would ignore, but her hoard of fans eat it up, because they “stan” and that’s that, period.

On the other hand, without taking sides, celebrities can send out their messages to the masses with positive notes and affect them in a positive way. That’s what a lot of them do in fact; they really only tweet or post about how they appreciate fans, life, how they stay positive, etc. That should be encouraged.

A lot of social media is just a bragging contest, a platform for causing “FOMO”.  It’s people like these who make it better. Dwayne Johnson is the poster child for positive presence on social media.

No one can control the messages a celebrity wants to put out, just the same as no one can control the fanbase of a celebrity. Young, impressionable people will latch onto the words of their idols and be formed by them. That’s why it’s risky stuff when a celebrity starts to go beyond that. Their lives and viewpoints aren’t only affecting those around them but people from all over the globe. It is up to them to think responsibly about what they put out into the world, and it is up to the fans to decide who is worthy of following and who is worthy of being listened to in the end.