Dr Elle Boag, senior lecturer in Social Psychology at Birmingham City University

Jessie J is the latest in a flurry of celebs who are sharing hospitalisations with the general public on Instagram. This may be as a means of “keeping it real” or “staying in touch” with fans who (like many of us) feel some kind of ownership of celebrities’ lives, thereby identifying that they too are subject to illness or misfortune and need medical intervention.

Alternatively, it may be that celebrities simply want to beat the tabloid press to releasing information about their ill health. After all, the statements are the celebrities’ own words and information is released immediately.

However, more cynically, perhaps Jessie J is simply using the “trend” to promote herself. After all, any time out of the public eye might lead to obscurity – an outcome that no self-grandiosing celebrity wants.

It is interesting that even in hospital Jessie J is reinforcing her “place” in the world of music and TV by stating “‘Hospitals have been my secret second home my whole life and they never get nice to be in but they can inspire a great song. Trying to see the positive in everything. Night gown could be good for the Voice live shows look too right? No? Too Much? lol”

At the end of the day, celebrities owe their status to the people who buy their songs, films, books, memorabilia and so on. Contemporary celebrities finally seem (on the surface) to be recognising the utility of social media in free self-promotion and “feeding” the wants of their fans. However, a cautionary note should be made that too much familiarity can lead to contempt!

An attention-seeking ploy to self-promote? Let us know your thoughts! Leave a comment below our get involved in the conversation- just tweet the Press Office Twitter account.

Dr Elle Boag is a senior lecturer in Social Psychology at Birmingham City University. Find out more about our Psychology courses here.


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