Understanding para social breakups on Twitter

Kiran Garimella, Jonathan Cohen, Ingmar Weber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Celebrity and fandom have been studied extensively in real life. Perceived virtual relationships, commonly known as para-social relationships (PSR) have been shown to exist between celebrities and fans [3]. The end of such relationships, para-social breakups (PSB), have also been studied [1]. However, with more and more celebrities using social media, the dynamics of PSR and PSB have changed. Using data from 57,000 fans for the top followed celebrities on Twitter, we try to understand how para-social breakups manifest on Twitter. We hypothesize that a PSB on Twitter happens as an act of unfollowing the celebrity and study the differences in engaging in a PSB between various types of fans. We find that, surprisingly, the most devoted fans are more likely to be involved in a para-social breakup. Given our scale and dependence on non-reactive data, our paper opens new avenues for research in para-social interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWebSci 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Web Science Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781450348966
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2017
Event9th ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci 2017 - Troy, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 201728 Jun 2017


Other9th ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci 2017
CountryUnited States


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Garimella, K., Cohen, J., & Weber, I. (2017). Understanding para social breakups on Twitter. In WebSci 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Web Science Conference (pp. 383-384). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3091478.3098877