Spending time in the network

Celebrity relationships on Twitter


  • Paul Ziek Pace University


celebrity, networks, Twitter


There have been very few studies on the time celebrities spend building and maintaining relationships with other celebrities. To fill the gap in the literature, the current study investigates how celebrities are connected through Twitter. A seed list of celebrities was developed from the attendees of the 2019 Annual Camp Google. After a Twitter crawl, a total matrix of 136 celebrities was created and UCINET was used to measure density and centrality within the network. The results show that a loose emergent network exists among uber-celebrities. However, although the links are tenuous, several leaders do emerge within the network. There are multiple take-aways relative to the current study including the notion that celebrities are continually forging and terminating relationships, the idea that there is obviously an interpersonal network among uber-celebrities which is hidden from public view and further support for the notion that there is a complicated and loose industry revolving around celebrity.

Author Biography

Paul Ziek, Pace University

Department of Media, Communications and Visual Arts


Aakhus, M., & Ziek, P. (2009). The role of instruments for communicating corporate social responsibility. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL.

Andrejevic, M. (2004). Reality TV: The work of being watched. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Asseraf, A. (2018). Fast media, slow media: losing time with the Kardashians. Critical Quarterly, 60(4), 35-45.

Boorstin, D. J. 1975. The image: A guide to pseudo-events in America. New York: Vintage.

Brady, A. (2016). Keeping away from the Kardashians: Celebrity worth and the re-masculinising of Caitlyn Jenner. Celebrity Studies, 7(1), 115-118.

Carey, J. W. 1989. Communication as Culture. Essays On Media and Society, In D. Thornburn
(Ed.) Media and Popular Culture. A Series of Critical
Books. New York: Routledge.

Castle, J, & Spring, B. (2017). Famous Friends. New York, NY: Scholastic Incorporated.

Charlier, S. D., Stewart, G. L., Greco, L. M., & Reeves, C. J. (2016). Emergent leadership in virtual teams: A multilevel investigation of individual communication and team dispersion antecedents. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(5), 745-764.

Cobb, S., & Ewen, N. (Eds.). (2015). First comes love: power couples, celebrity kinship and cultural politics. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American journal of sociology, 94, S95–S120.
Cross, R., Parker, A., Prusak, L., & Borgatti, S. P. (2001). Knowing what we know:: Supporting knowledge creation and sharing in social networks. Organizational dynamics, 30(2), 100-120.

Currid-Halkett, E. 2010. Starstruck: The business of celebrity. New York: Faber and Faber.

Currid-Halkett, E., & Ravid, G. (2012). ‘Stars’ and the connectivity of cultural industry world cities: an empirical social network analysis of human capital mobility and its implications for economic development. Environment and planning A, 44(11), 2646-2663.

De Choudhury, M., Mason, W. A., Hofman, J. M., & Watts, D. J. (2010, April). Inferring relevant social networks from interpersonal communication. In Proceedings of the 19th international conference on World wide web (pp. 301-310).

Dobson, J. (2019). Billionaire Summer Camp: The Rich And Famous Flock To Sicily For The 7th Annual Google Retreat. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobson/2019/07/30/billionaire-summer-camp-the-rich-and-famous-flock-to-sicily-for-the-7th-annual-google-retreat/?sh=7d298a28387d

Doerfel, M.L., & Barnett, G.A. (1999). A comparison of the semantic and affiliation networks of the International Communication Association. Human Communication Research, 25, 589–603.

Düring, M. (2014, November). Can Network Analysis Reveal Importance? Degree Centrality and Leaders in the EU Integration Process. In International Conference on Social Informatics (pp. 314-318). Springer, Cham.

Fowles, J. (1992). Starstruck: Celebrity performers and the American public. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institute.

Friedman, M., & Gonzales, E. (2019, March). Here’s How Much Every Member of the Kardashian-Jenner Family is Worth. Harper’s Bazaar. Retrieved from https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a22117965/kardashian-family-net-worth/

Grabowicz, P. A., Babaei, M., Kulshrestha, J., & Weber, I. W. (2016). The road to popularity: The dilution of growing audience on twitter. arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.04423.

Haag, L. L. (1993). Oprah Winfrey: The construction of intimacy in the talk show setting. The journal of popular culture, 26(4), 115-122.

Hanneman, R.A., & Riddle, M. (2011). Concepts and Measures for Basic Network Analysis. In J. Scott & P.J. Carrington’s (Eds)The SAGE handbook of social network analysis, pp. 340-369. SAGE publications.

Hilmes, M. (1997). Radio voices: American broadcasting, 1922-1952. U of Minnesota Press.

Hu, M., Zhao, Y., Liu, Z., Li, Z., & Kong, X. (2020). Just my imagination: The influence of celebrities’ romantic relationship announcements on romance fans and friendship fans. Psychology of Popular Media. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000324

Kane, G. C., Alavi, M., Labianca, G., & Borgatti, S. P. (2014). What’s different about social media networks? A framework and research agenda. MIS quarterly, 38(1), 275-304.

Khamis, S., Ang, L., & Welling, R. (2017). Self-branding,‘micro-celebrity’and the rise of Social Media Influencers. Celebrity studies, 8(2), 191-208.

Krackhardt, D., & Hanson, J. R. (1993). Informal networks. Harvard business review, 71(4), 104-111.

Levy, S. (1999). Rat Pack confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the last great show biz party. Broadway Books.

Lilti, A. (2017). The invention of celebrity. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Marshall, P. D. 1997. Celebrity and power: Fame in contemporary culture. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Marshall, P. D. 2010. The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media. Celebrity studies, 1(1), 35-48.

Marwick, A. E. (2013). Status update: Celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age. Yale University Press.

Marwick, A. E., & Boyd, D. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New media & society, 13(1), 114-133.

McClain, A. S. (2013). Keeping up the Kardashian brand: celebrity, materialism, and sexuality. Lexington Books.

McCombs, M. E., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public opinion quarterly, 36(2), 176-187.

McLuhan, Marshall. (1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw Hill.

McNally, K. (2015). When Frankie Went to Hollywood: Frank Sinatra and American Male Identity. University of Illinois Press.

Monge, P. R., & Eisenberg, E. M. (1987). Emergent communication networks. In F. M. Jablin, L. L. Putnam, K. H. Roberts, & L. W. Porter, (Eds.), Handbook of organizational communication (pp. 304–342). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Monge, P. R., Contractor, N. S., Peter, R., Contractor, P. S., & Noshir, S. (2003). Theories of communication networks. Oxford University Press, USA.

Meyers, C. B. (2017). Social media influencers: A lesson plan for teaching digital advertising media literacy. Advertising & Society Quarterly, 18(2).

Newman, M. (2018). Networks. Oxford university press.

Patro, J., Bhaskaran, R., & Mukherjee, A. (2018). What Propels Celebrity Follower Counts? Language Use or Social Connectivity. arXiv preprint arXiv:1811.07169.

Postman, N. (1970). The reformed English curriculum. In A. C. Eurich (Ed.), High school 1980: The shape of the future in American secondary education (pp.160–168). New York: Pitman.

Rihl, A., & Wegener, C. (2019). YouTube celebrities and parasocial interaction: Using feedback channels in mediatized relationships. Convergence, 25(3), 554-566.

Rojek, C. (2001) Celebrity. London: Reaktion Books.

Rojek, C. (2004). Frank Sinatra. Polity.

Rojek, C. (2015). Celebrity. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies, 1-3.

Sánchez, A. B. (Ed.). (2019). Power Couples in Antiquity: Transversal Perspectives. Routledge.

Strate, L. (2004). Media ecology. Communication Research Trends, 23(2), 1-48.

Timberg, B. M., & Erler, R. J. (2010). Television talk: A history of the TV talk show. University of Texas Press.

Treadwell, D. (2014). Introduction to Communication Research. Paths of Inquiry (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Turner, G. (2010). Approaching celebrity studies. Celebrity studies, 1(1), 11-20.

Turner, G. (2014). Is celebrity news, news?. Journalism, 15(2), 144-152.

Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications (Vol. 8). Cambridge university press.

Yoo, Y., & Alavi, M. (2004). Emergent leadership in virtual teams: what do emergent leaders do?. Information and organization, 14(1), 27-58.

Ziek, P. (2016). Cultivating Celebrity through Public Relations. Celebrity Studies, 7(1), 122-124.

Ziek, P. (2019, May). The Cuomo Family: A dynasty build on more than politics. https://agoracenter.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/the-cuomo-family-used-more-than-politics-to-build-its-dynasty/

Ziek, P., & Smulowitz, S. (2014). The Impact of Emergent Virtual Leadership Competencies on Team Effectiveness. Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, 35(2), 106-120.