Why Are We So Connected to the Personal Lives of Celebrities?

“I didn’t realize so many of my friends were that close with Paul Walker”-anonymous

The above quote was a statement I overheard earlier this week on campus. With the recent death of Fast Furious star Paul Walker I’ve become curious as to how loss affects our lives particularly through social media! My generation has always had a fascination with the lives of celebrities and thanks to popular social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram we’re able to follow our favorite stars’ day to day routines just as if we are actually with them. If I want to know what my celebrity crush is having for dinner that night (as creeperific as it sounds) all I have to do is scroll through the instagram app on my phone and view his latest post. Social media has become why when a public figure becomes a victim of something tragic, we feel a personal connection to the situation.

Over the weekend, my news feed was filled with condolences for Paul Waker and his family along with an eruption of mixed reactions to the subject. Many of my Facebook friends and the bloggers I follow on Twitter were outraged with all of the media attention received by death of one man and possibly overshadowing the everyday deaths of those serving oversees or the death of the driver. A Facebook friend of mine posted that the only reason many are emotional involved with this accident is because of the sheer fact that Paul Walker was a celebrity. After doing a Google search of recent deaths in the news, the only topic showed up in my search results was over the death of Paul Walker.  My search results lead me to wonder are the critics of Paul Walker’s media attention justified? As a society are we too invested in the lives of those in the public eye that we diminish the importance of the lives of the average citizens or is our society in a natural state of grieving of the loss of someone or something of importance to our lives?

Very similar to Paul Walker’s death was the overdose of Glee star Corey Monteith earlier this year. When I asked a friend about her feelings regarding the deaths of both Paul Walker and Corey Monteith, she expressed a great deal of distress. My explained how she was devastated over the death of Corey Monteith due to her personal connection to his show. My friend who is a big fan of Glee felt emotionally invested to Monteith’s character and to this day states that she cannot listen any of Monteith music after his passing due to her sadness over the situation. “When I first found out about what happened to Corey, I was in a state of shock. All I could think about was how hard this situation must be for his girlfriend Lea Michele”, exclaimed my anonymous friend. When I asked her why staying up to date on their personal lives was so important to her she replied by saying, “following their lives on social media is a way for me to fantasize about what living their life would be like”.

After talking with my friend I started to feel as if maybe living bi curiously through our favorite stars is why we form such a connection to the roles they portray and their personal lives. To use, the celebrity we are living bi curiously through becomes almost like a close friend because we already have that personal connection through our relationship with the characters they play and by constantly being updated on their lives via social media much like we are with our personal friends. My question for the masses would be why do you feel our society has become so involved with the personal lives of public figures?

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