Parasocial? Is that more or less than social? Cause I can barely handle social. It took me the last 25 years of writing to realize that collegiality doesn’t equal friendship. That’s 25 years of being too earnest and getting burned by assholes, people. Don’t tell me there’s a whole other level to this. Wait, is this about obsessive fans thinking their your pal? Whew. Don’t have to worry.
Parasocial interaction (PSI) was defined in 1956 as “a kind of psychological relationship experienced by members of an audience in their mediated encounters with certain performers in the mass media, particularly on television.” These days, I’d argue that social media has taken PSI one step further and many authors with public-facing social media presences can also find themselves in the role of those performers or recognizable public figures as defined by Horton and Wohl in 1956. Most people may not see anything wrong with a little bit of minor fame, but issues arrive when readers and audiences begin to see public figures as real people they know personally. How we treat strangers differs from how we treat people we perceive as friends, and this is where boundary crossing can arise.