The development of social media on the Internet has considerably transformed the way people communicate with one another. According to a recent Nielsen report on the state of social media, nearly 80% of active Internet users visit social networks and blogs (“State of the Media,” 2011). Social media can be described as “a variety of new sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by consumers intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities, and issues” (Blackshaw & Nazzaro, 2004). “Social media” is an umbrella term that includes social networking sites, creativity work sharing sites, blogs, and forums.
This new media form is becoming increasingly influential on consumer behavior in the marketplace, specifically in awareness, obtaining information, developing opinions, and purchasing behavior. Consumers are substituting traditional media and means of advertising, such as television, radio, magazines and newspapers, for new media that give them instant access to information at their own convenience. Due to its consumer-generated nature, social media is perceived as a more trustworthy source of information than traditional advertising and communication. Therefore, consumers are turning to social media platforms to obtain information and make purchasing decisions (Mangold & Faulds, 2009).
As both a new promotional tool and a venue for consumer-generated communications, social media is becoming increasingly influential on the creation and realization of a music star’s image. A variety of social media platforms including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, VEVO, and interactive artist websites, are used to manage promotion and monitor publicity of stars. The following discussion of social media’s influence and importance on the creation and realization of the music star image will focus on the first two media texts: promotion and publicity.