What age group stans on social media?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

When the blogosphere was at its peak in 2005, I noticed that people only started blogging on political topics when they were about 24 or 25. If they were 18 or 19, large-audience blogging made no sense to them. At 18 or 19, what they wanted was a blog for their personal friends. They might have had a LiveJournal blog, and they expected a few of their friends to follow their diary. But blogging for a bunch of adults who they didn’t know? Why would they want to do that? And yet, a few years later, blogging did make sense to some of them. Once they hit 25, they were ready to start large-scale public conversations with other adults.

For awhile I had that model in my head: teens talk to small groups and those over 25 talk to the general public. But there is clearly at least one big exception to this rule, which involves being a fan. Super fans as young as 14 are public in their love of their celebrities. I am curious why this exception exists?

Maybe 22 is too old to stan? If there is a difference between being 20 and being 25, perhaps at 25 people become conscious of the need to build their own careers?

Some might say “any age” is too old to be fanning out over a celebrity on social media. But this young woman, at 21, feels like she’s reached her Stan peak and plans on bowing out of the game…MAYBE.

This BuzzFeed post by Katie Notopoulos tells the story of Louisana native Myleeza Mingo, who became a Kim Kardashian devotee at 14 and runs the Twitter account @MyleezaKardash. The Stan (aka Super Fan) life seemed destined for Mingo once she discovered Keeping Up With the Kardashians and, as Katie Notopoulos writes, “didn’t see the show as a sign of the impending fall of Western civilization, or 22-minute chiaroscuro of the vapid nature of celebrity. She saw three stylish sisters, whose humor and charisma made the show incredibly watchable.”

…“I’ve been doing this since I was 14 years old,” says Mingo. “It’s something I love to do; it’s really become my hobby, so it’s like giving up something you’ve been doing for almost 10 years and you realize it’s time to hang it up. It’s just a sad sad day. I grew up so fast — I’m about to be 22 in August and I have to be an adult.”

…“I’m 22, I’m getting ready to start my career, I just graduated college, and I just really think that it’s time, even though I’m reluctant to give it up,” she says. “I’ve had my fair share of years on Twitter cursing people out, all things a real stan does. But it’s time to hang up my stan shoes.”

Young mammals of all species engage in play to learn the skills they will need as adults. Maybe stanning fits into that model.

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