Social Media Celebrities and Para-social Relationships: The Chinese Context
The purpose of this study is to examine the role of social media celebrity plays in developing para-social relationship with their audience. The research examines this relationship by investigating (a) the mediating role of numbers of hours enthusiast spent interacting with celebrities and (b) the moderating role of celebrity identification in the relationship between social media celebrity effect and para-social relationship. An online survey gathered 527 response from female students between the ages of 18–30 years who follow social media celebrities. Result shows that hours spent online with social media celebrities mediate the relationship between the effect of social media celebrities and para-social relationships. Moderated mediation reveals that the indirect path (hours spent with social media celebrity online) through which social media celebrities exert their effect on para-social relationships is dependent on the enthusiast identification with social media celebrities. This paper makes available important findings for marketers, governments and academics. Businesses may make use of the role play by social media celebrities in influencing women and as a result use them to promote their products. Governments can also use the celebrities to pass on information to their followers on matters regarding social vices. The role of time spent online with social media celebrity and identification on para-social relationships are discussed together with future research directions.
KeywordsSocial media celebrities Para-social relationship Identification
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