Fandom in The Digital Age

Paul Eisele

Professor Proctor


December 8, 2014

Semester Project: Fandom in The Digital Age

For my semester project, I started an Instagram fan account. A fan account is one that is created, by a fan, which pays homage to the celebrity of choice. The online community of other fan accounts follows like and comments on posts I make. By tagging popular hashtags about the celebrity, I have amassed a flowing of 115 accounts as of today. I am submitting this as late as possible to ensure I get every follower I can before I submit!

The idea came about because I originally started an Instagram about myself. I was hoping to gain notoriety in the online world and gain followers for posting pictures of myself like the digital celebrates I wrote about in my paper. After six posts of myself (with tags) and gaining no followers, I knew this wasn’t working.

The celebrity I chose was Ross Lynch. He is a teenage actor, musician, and singer. Ross plays Austin Moon on the Disney Channel show Austin and Ally. The show centers on Austin and his career. His professional career started from a video he posted online and went viral. The video got millions of hits in a short period of time and launched him into the spotlight. This is crucial because, in this way, the show serves as a cultural satire on digital rises to prominence. Much like Alex from Target or Cole LaBrant, Ross’ character has gone through rapid changes to their lives and careers as a result of a video or picture becoming an internet hit.

I thought this Instagram account on Ross was perfect because it was a parallel to a celebrity who plays a crossover celebrity from online videos to real life. I also found it fascinating that Disney reacted to this type of a gateway to the realm of fame- by viral video that is. In series past like Hannah Montana, the character had to find other means to gain fame as a performer. It’s interesting to see how Disney has adapted to the times and embraced this new age gateway to fame.

Link to Instagram:


Link to Pilot episode of Austin and Ally:

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