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Authenticity at a Price: Personal Stories Online & Anti-Fan Audiences
thesisposted on 05.12.2019 by Ashley M Watson
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
My dissertation explores how authenticity is a site of negotiation for lifestyle bloggers, their anti-fans, and their corporate sponsors. Lifestyle blogs, blogs written by women about their everyday lives, have garnered a fandom by utilizing social media, establishing (or what seems to be) intimate relationships with readers and other bloggers, and creating an authentic online persona. Falling under the category of micro-celebrity, these bloggers must maintain a balance between aspirational and authentic narratives of their lives so to maintain sponsorships and readers. I study the forums of an anti-fan site, Get Off My Internets, dedicated to critiquing a popular healthy living blogger from April 2016 – October 2018. Such research provides insights into how online readers define authenticity and how discourse communities implement snark and internet research into creating a fuller narrative of the blogger’s life. I argue studying sites of anti-fandom can address pedagogical goals to create users that are rhetorically savvy (in terms of mitigating risk) and empathetic to others.