Social media has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. In my younger years, I used to frequent the art-sharing website deviantART where I would engage with other writers and share my literature creations with them. Ever since the website’s interface became difficult to navigate, however, my friends and I moved our writing endeavors to Twitter. As mentioned in previous articles, I am a huge music lover. It was during this migration from one platform to another that I thought: “Why not make a Stan Twitter account? It could be fun.”
Now, for those of you who don’t know what ‘Stan Twitter,’ allow me to fill you in. According to Wikipedia, Stan Twitter is defined as “a community of Twitter users that post opinions related to music, celebrities, TV shows, movies and social media.” Sounds harmless, right? Well, I thought so, too, until I immersed myself into the community. I’ve known how toxic online communities can be – even the one I was a part of on deviantART was quite bad – but Stan Twitter is a whole other level of toxicity.
What concerns me about Stan Twitter’s toxicity, though, is how normalized it is. From day one, I have seen users call each other racial and homophobic slurs over harmless tweets, seen people get doxxed just because they do not like a particular musical artist and watched as users post the most disgusting and vile tweets about celebrities and other users. It’s a lot to take in and it’s heartbreaking to watch.
I’ve made a fair amount of friends on Stan Twitter through our shared love of Korean Pop music (mainly SuperM, where we even have our own group chat dedicated to the band) but sometimes I wonder if staying in the community is worth it. The toxicity I have seen is a bit too much and the way users interact with each other and celebrities in general is…interesting, for lack of a better word. Fans of musicians (especially K-Pop artists) are so attached that even the slightest bit of criticism toward an artist can lead to them sending death threats or worse. It makes me wonder why they act this way.
There are a handful of examples I could provide to further cement my point; however, I cannot go into specifics due to confidentiality and because I have not acquired permission from my Twitter friends (who, unfortunately, have been victim to such attacks). I do, however, want this article to be a stepping stone for my future articles of this month. Throughout November, I want to provide readers with Internet safety tips in regard to navigating social media and also provide some insight as to why becoming so attached to celebrities can be unhealthy.
I am not an expert (obviously), yet I hope my articles will be able to provide some insight on staying safe while using the Internet and how celebrity culture can be toxic.