Superstars versus Celebrities - Big Man or Big Name?
Economic theories of superstar emergence concentrate on the perceived quality of the star’s performance. Thus superstars are identified by perceived talent superiority. Information technology and mass media have recently released a new type of stars: celebrities who are just known for being well-known. Most of these short-lived celebrities are ordinary people who have no special talent at all. Nevertheless, they enjoy star-like attention. We argue that the demand for celebrities is based on the human desire to gossip; namely to discuss, share interpretations or judgments. Celebrities qualify well for gossip since information about them is easy to find and share. The more popular a celebrity is, the easier gossip circulation becomes which then fuels further popularity and creates a self-energizing bandwagon effect. Media plays a crucial role in selecting for whom it triggers this bandwagon effect.
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