Social Media Psychology

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Vlogger-Viewer Relationships: YouTubers Are Risking Their Lives for Our Clicks

According to Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, a social media expert and technology ethicist, our amoral appetite for bloody content could come down to the blurred lines of vlogger-viewer relationships.

“Wittek and Dobrik — as virtual reality stars — are in relatively unscripted and real-world settings, many of their antics are ‘manufactured fictions’," Ruiz-McPherson tells Mic. “In other words, the scenarios we see these Vlog Squad members participate in are purposefully created rather than realistic happenstance. When media users are viewing and consuming influencer content that falls into this differentiated arena of ‘real-but-unreal,’ then clear delineations of fiction and nonfiction become rather blurred.”

Ruiz-McPherson goes on to say that this way of thinking can cause a disconnect between viewer and influencer, quelling any worries we may have about their safety. “The media user does indeed feel an affinity towards the performer, but such feelings or actions tend to be contained or restricted to the singular viewing episode. In other words, whatever one may feel towards a media performer is bound within the session spent consuming the content.”

Media & Cyberpsychologist M.R. McPherson, MA, MFA

About Me

I am a (near) Washington DC-based* media and cyberpsychologist with over 20 years experience with interaction and application design. You can follow me on social media with the links below.