ByElise Jost, writer at
"It's a UNIX system! I know this!" Twitter @elisejost
Elise Jost

While plenty of celebrities will make it loud and clear that fans are the best thing that's ever happened to them — thanking them regularly for making them famous and spending plenty of energy on meeting them and signing whatever weird objects they want immortalized with the pen stroke of their idol — others are not so keen on having an absurdly devoted following adoring their every move.

And with the rise of social media, things haven't been getting any better for the latter category. Celebs post everyday pictures on their Instagram profiles, share intimate moments on Snapchat, and progressively give their fans the feeling that there's some kind of special bond between them. If you were notified when someone bought a new pair of shoes, or got a sleepy selfie from them in the morning, wouldn't you feel like they're your friend, too?

Meanwhile, people talking to a camera from the confines of their bedroom — whether they're gamers, stand-up comedians or beauty bloggers — have also found a way to access worldwide fame, as the communities they connect with become larger and larger. And it triggers the same process as an A-lister posting a pic of themselves brushing their teeth: When you know the color of a YouTuber's sheets, and what their favorite mug looks like, it's easy to understand why you'd feel like you know them — but do they know you?

'Just Don't Come To My House, Please'

PewDiePie, one of the best paid YouTubers out there, recently published a video in which he asks fans to please not show up at his house unannounced, showing just how absurd the fan-celebrity rapport can become. He sums up the misunderstanding that seems to have happened to many fans pretty nicely:

"Just because you found my address, doesn't mean you found an invitation for you to come over."

While all of us have probably gasped and pointed at a celebrity we've spotted on the street, the fact that adults do not find it weird to turn up at someone's home unannounced when they've never met before in real life just shows how far the concept of online fandom has gone in twisting our perception of acceptable social behavior.

Justin Bieber's Fan Overdose

Unfortunately, it's not just houses that fans have been storming. Earlier this week, teen pop sensation Justin Bieber quit Instagram over a heated fight with his fans and his ex, fellow singer Selena Gomez. It all started pretty simply: The Biebs posted snaps of his new girlfriend, but followers went mad at the idea of him dating someone else than his former love. When he started accusing them of not supporting him, said former love stepped in, calling him out for not giving his audience the respect they deserve — along with some snarky comments about their past relationship.

The whole dispute upset the All-Canadian Reject so much that he threatened to delete his whole Instagram account, and he eventually did. More than yet another teen star feud to feed our gossip-hungry brains, however, the event brings to light yet again the problematic relationship between celebrities and fans.

Justin Bieber in his video for 'Company'
Justin Bieber in his video for 'Company'

It's a pressure that Bieber has brought up a number of times, going as far as canceling expensive meet-and-greets because he didn't feel like he could live up to his fans' incredibly high expectations. But this isn't about defending young Justin or sympathizing with him about what he describes as an ordeal; surely he's got his flaws, and some of his fans are certainly crazy too.

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The focus here is on the incredible heights that our obsession for celebrities has been able to gain with the dawn of internet and social media. More and more, these A-listers — whether you consider that they've signed up for this by becoming famous or not — are distancing themselves from fans. And that's not because they've fallen out of love with them, but the notion that a fan is entitled to anything from his idol has expanded so much that this distance has become a mere requirement for safety.

So we mere mortals need to learn to step back. But while it's crucial that fans know appropriate behavior, the fact that celebrities usually crave online likes and followers also creates a tricky paradox. Could they ever not be tempted to share every crumb of their exciting lives?

Do you feel like celebrity fandom is reaching a point of saturation? What do you think celebrities and fans should do about it?


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