Podcasters are People: The Intimacy of Medium vs. Parasocial Relationships

A masterfully written piece by Wil that every podcaster who’s growing a fanbase needs to see.

Wil Williams Reviews

There’s an issue in podcasting that’s bothered me about fandom culture for as long as I can remember. It’s the uneasy feeling I get when I see fanfiction written about real people. It’s the pang of pain I feel for celebrities whose personal lives get speculated on by complete strangers. And it’s something I’m seeing more and more of in podcasting.

The phenomenon is what happens when parasocial relationships allow strangers to feel educated about, or entitled to, a creator or performer’s life.

If you want a primer on the topic, we covered parasocial relationships in podcasting on an episode of Tuned In, Dialed Up, the podcast I make in partnership with fellow podcast critic Gavin Gaddis:

What is a parasocial relationship?

Coined in the 1956 piece “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance” by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl, the term “parasocial…

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