Zero-Distancing: The Collapsing Distance Between Fan & Celebrity

This is a Guest Post by MTV Insights’ Alison Hillhouse

It’s no longer unusual for the biggest pop star in the world to wish you luck on your math test, or for a reality star to forgo therapy and solicit advice from 8 million teen fans. The pedestal has been dismantled by social media tools in the hands of a generation that loves to flatten hierarchies. We indeed live in a flat world where fans demand not just a VIP pass to celebs, artists and entertainment experiences, but an eye-to-eye view.

This is the age of “Zero-distancing.”

As Julian, 21, says “Today, artists can be your best friends.” So conversations like this between Nicole (@trukardashfan) and Khole Kardashian about Nicole’s upcoming midterms aren’t unusual:

As Nicole says, “Khloé always makes time to talk to all of her fans. Whenever I get a tweet from her it makes me so happy because it feels like we are close since we communicate often.”

Millennials also crave intimate glimpses into the mundane daily activities of their favorite celebrities, such as Taylor’s cat claw clipping:

We hear from Millennials that they click through various social media channels to get different perspectives into a celeb’s life just like different video camera angles at a live performance. Each social media channel serves a distinct & unique purpose:

+ Facebook is the most “formal and official outlet” for tour updates and information
+ Twitter offers a “blow-by-blow feed” and highlights interactions with other celebrities
+ Instagram provides a direct line into their literal world-view, like “seeing the world through their eyes”
+ Tumblr is the most intimate glimpse into an artists’ psyche/spirit. Jessica, 25, explains that it allows fans to get an authentic glimpse into an artist’s creative inspiration and process… it “shows how artists express themselves, the aesthetic that makes them tick.”

@MTVInsights will be speaking more about “zero-distancing” on February 20th during New York’s Social Media Week. We’ll start with a teen panel who will speak about their virtually-intimate relationships with celebs in social media, and then be joined by Viacom stars who will speak about their experience interacting with fans:

+ Nev Schulman from MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”
+ Drita D’Avanzo from VH1’s “Mob Wives”
+ Cody Alan from CMT’s “Hot 20 Countdown” and nightly syndicated radio show, “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan”
+ Ivy Winters from Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

MTV is just one of over 300 Event Partners taking over SMW to help make SMW NYC a success. Sign up for their event here or for our other events here!