|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Internet Media Relationship Emotional intelligence|
A parasocial relationship happens when people extern emotional and social energy and interest towards one person who is entirely unaware of the attachment. The emotional attachment is one-sided. It is cultivated by the media to resemble a real one-on-one relationship. Individuals do not expect a return in favor when involved in such a relationship. It is mostly characterized by a feeling that those committed to a Parasocial relationship are known by the person they direct their emotions towards be it a media personality or a musician (Baek, Bae, & Jang, 2013). Internet use has made the rate of parasocial relationships high since people can access information and content that relates to the popular personality to whom they are attached. The connections are social and are influenced by social interaction, mostly through media platforms.
Examples of Parasocial Relationships
Social cognitive theory helps in understanding why people form Parasocial relationships. The environment also forms part of learning, and it impacted me and my friend's formations of Parasocial relationships. I remember that I had an attachment to the artist Jay Z and every time I watched his interviews or watched his music, it hit differently. I was more attached to him than any other artist similar to two of my friends who loved the artist Rick Ross. These are examples of Parasocial relationships that were formed purely by watching TV and creating a social relationship that was one-sided. The artists did not know whether my friends and I loved them and felt so much attached to them. When Jay Z finally married, I felt like it was my brother and was so happy for him. It is despite the fact we have never met. The only time that was so close to the meeting was through attending his shows and occupying the front row seats.
The social cognitive theory holds that social and environmental factors influence our attachment to a particular person. Being brought up in an era of Hip-hop made my friends, and I have a specialised attachment to these specific Hip Hop artists (Baek et al., 2013).
The Concept of Parasocial Relationships
Parasocial relationships are essential for the general good of those involved with such links. It helps create a feeling similar to a sense that associated with real and physical friendships which are mutual. The fact that a particular media personality appears on TV every evening and a viewer creates an attachment with that figure is a welcome concept. Some people find the purpose of living a fulfilled life through such one-sided relationships with a celebrity they admire. The Parasocial links help people gain strength and encouragement by watching their celebrity icons and sometimes relating to their stories (Baek et al., 2013). The personas that people form Parasocial relationships with help shape their identity and sense of self-worth. It is thus correct to say that Parasocial relationships are more advantageous to people. Media and communication studies have for long explained the Parasocial relationships since the media itself is highly involved in forming such relationships which help in keeping the viewers glued to the channel. It is a concept that viewers should understand so that they realize the importance of controlling what the family members, especially children, watch. It can shape behaviour and the psychology of those that form Parasocial relationships (Baek et al., 2013).
Reasons why People form Parasocial Relationships
Media conditioning leads to parasocial relationships. The viewer's brains are penetrated through the media and thus end up forming Parasocial relationships (Ferreira, 2014). The contents and celebrities presented by the media can influence the psychology of those who watch them if the process is repeated severally and particular people are involved. For example, if Jay Z music is repeatedly played in the media and he is welcomed for more interviews, then some viewers will look for a Parasocial relationship with him (Baek et al., 2013).
The media forms a part of the environment that influences learning. Social cognitive theory, as explained by Lindsey Hand, helps us understand how the environment also constitutes part of learning (Hands, 2019). The media through which Parasocial relationships are formed is part of the environment that surrounds the lives of people who then tend to have a connection with the content of the media (Baek et al., 2013). Parasocial relationships can influence behaviour and promote learning for the individual. For example, children who form Parasocial relationships with an intelligent TV character whom they watch every day are influenced to read more and be as talented a the TV character. Children who attend football and form Parasocial relationships with a particular football star also want to practice more and become better in sports (Baek et al., 2013).
Parasocial relationships have similar benefits to traditional associations. They serve the same purpose of making those involved feel complete. Media plays a significant role in promoting and cultivating these relationships with their audiences.
Baek, Y. M., Bae, Y., & Jang, H. (2013). Social and parasocial relationships on social network sites and their differential relationships with users' psychological well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(7), 512-517.
Ferreira, R. M. C (2014). Media effects on the audience attitudes and behavior.
Hands, L. ( 2019) Social Cognitive Theory: An Overview
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