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Authenticity at a Price: Personal Stories Online & Anti-Fan Audiences

posted on 2019-12-05, 00:52 authored by Ashley M WatsonAshley M Watson
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.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy



Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Patricia A. Sullivan,

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Jennifer Bay

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Michael J. Salvo

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Samantha Blackmon

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