Our fragile star: Virtual identity and the maintenance of stardom in an online fan forum
The Internet is a medium for social activities and is effective in building social ties, collective voice and a sense of community. The internet is bound to change and give different dimensions to existing conventional institutions, including changes in perception of ‘identity’.
Against the backdrop of the Korean Wave (the increase in exports of South Korean cultural products since the late 1990s), this study aims to look at issues of virtual identity and at the maintenance of stardom in an online fan forum for Korean celebrities. The data is taken from a thread dedicated to Ju Ji Hun, a new actor in www.soompi.com, the biggest international forum for K-pop culture fans. Activities in the thread show high levels of involvement and attachment to the star and is thus a potential site for showing the process of the construction of virtual identity in the way fans interact with each other.
The seven-month study was done by observing thread activities and analyzing the content of the interactions. The result shows that the process of identification emerges through the building of a virtual family that works together to defend the star’s celebrity status.
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Copyright (c) 2008 Lusvita Nuzuliyanti & Lina Puryanti
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