Among the superfans of the web ready to do anything for their idols: what is Stan Twitter

Among the superfans of the web ready to do anything for their idols: what is Stan Twitter

Among the superfans of the web ready to do anything for their idols

Fan clubs have always existed, yet it is on the web that they are becoming a problem. The case of Stan Twitter is exemplary: this is how the groups that bring together supporters obsessed with their idols are defined on the social network. Every day, thousands of accounts argue, write and argue about favorite characters, often without other users noticing. Yes, because Stan Twitter is a hidden universe, especially for those who are not in the reference "bubble". The curious can peek through the trending topics of the day to find the topics fan communities are debating, but not even knowing the hashtags might be enough to understand. The stans use a unique slang that is difficult to understand by other users. The risks for those who take part in these online groups of fanatics are considerable according to the experts who have analyzed the phenomenon.

The origin of the name The compact communities of supporters on Twitter are named after the song Stan by the American rapper Eminem, released in 2000. The single, accompanied by an iconic video with singer Dido, tells of a fan who puts his life and that of his family at risk because of his obsession with Eminem. The story of Eminem's fictional Stan has been embraced by the Twitter communities, which are also ready for anything - albeit virtually - for their favorite celebrities. Another version has it that the name derives from the union between the terms stalker and fan.

Stan Twitter's American bands love to give themselves a playful nickname: Swifties are Taylor Swift's superfans, Barbz are those of rapper Nicki Minaj, a Belieber who follows Justin Bieber assiduously. And there is no shortage of communities for the protagonists of the TV series: from the Shonda Rhimes TV series to the Riverdale and Euphoria shows, many users dedicate entire days, posting several times a day, to feed and populate the hashtags regarding their favorite idols. There is no shortage of bots, but the emotional part of the messages is difficult to replicate by an automatic program. By inviting numerous community members to retweet and join the discussion, Stan fanbases push their topics into the trending topics of the day. Up to now, the definition of stans seems less serious than that represented by the character created by Eminem, so much so that sometimes the celebrities themselves define themselves as such, as done by the television author Shonda Rhimes talking about his passion for the singer Lizzo.

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The power of communities Stan Nicknames and the wide use of emojis in tweets shouldn't be misleading: Stan communities have been defined as toxic and negative by web sociology experts and sometimes by the protagonists themselves. In fact, in recent times, the groups in question have been at the center of some news events. When Lagy Gaga and Taylor Swift albums were vying for the top spot, the groups of Little Monsters, aka Gaga's superfans, sent thousands of messages against the rival singer. Up to obtaining viral tweets accusing Swift of being anti-feminist because she is present in the cast of the new film by David O. Russell, an American director who in the past was accused of harassment by a relative. It was then the turn of the Swifties to cause a mishap to another VIP: after the release of the re-recording of All too well (Taylor's Version), the song by Taylor Swift - accompanied by a short film - in which the singer told his story with Jake Gyllenhaal, the actor's account was filled with insults from Taylor supporters. As a result, Gyllenhaal disabled post comments, losing the ability to interact with their fans. It should be specified that some communities have also distinguished themselves in a positive way: the supporters of the Korean boyband BTS have raised funds for socially useful campaigns and have pushed their idols not to release polluting NFTs. However, excess online dedication to a single character inevitably risks leaving negative aftermath. "The fan subculture has a different intensity today that you can virtually access a celebrity at any time of the day, any day of the year," Professor Shana Redmond told USA Today. the wrong thing, that iteration can turn into hostility very quickly. ”

Call to action image shared by a Stan Twitter account

Who are the Stans? It is not easy to identify the stans: most of them are hidden behind a profile photo of their favorite VIP and the messages have to do exclusively with the same topic. Slang is the son of internet terminology: "moots" are fans of other friendly communities, "locals" are Internet users who are not part of Stan Twitter, "ship" is the relationship between two imaginary protagonists of a TV series or a movie. The online approach seems to facilitate an obsessive trend that was not so evident before among fans of singers and actors: "Saying or writing 'my favorite celebrity is my soul mate' or 'if my favorite singer dies, I wouldn't want to to live 'means that the cult of celebrities becomes worrying "adds Professor Redmond.

The Stan communities are also present on Twitter Italy: in addition to the local versions of the best-known fanbases, there are small groups where the topic of the day is always the same. Be it the day of a participant in the Gf Vip - Soleil Sorge is the most admired - or the last party of a tiktoker like Gaia Bianchi, the Italian stans always tweet and post on the theme that concerns the adored character and her alleged rivals. "But when the VIPs prove to be something different from what they imagined, disappointment arrives. And it can happen often as we are constantly inundated with new media destined to hook us up and make us fall in love with someone »concludes Redmond. Similar to other pop culture trends, fan clubs have modernized and adapted to social media. However, this seems to have somehow led to a negative drift which must continue to be monitored.

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