Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Fíadh Flood 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

Fíadh Flood (she/they) is a final-year practice-path student in BSc Applied Psychology. Fíadh is experienced in working with a variety of mental health issues in clinical settings through volunteering and training as a support worker in suicide prevention at SOSAD Ireland. Fíadh was an active team member of the Mental Health Society at IADT and contributed to hosting events to promote positive mental health and well-being. Fíadh’s postgraduate goals are to continue researching and applying the skills learned in fulfilling work environments, with a goal to work closely with LGBTQ+ youth and other marginalised communities.

Project Description

This research project considered the online behaviours of members of ‘dark fandoms’ in the Twitter community. Dark fandoms are online communities of fans who celebrate and admire individuals who have committed horrendous crimes, such as serial killers. By analysing tweets shared by fans and applying psychological theory to the content exhibited, this project allowed for further understanding of parasocial relationships in online communities in a time where serial killers are glamourised through new media productions, such as TV series and movie adaptations.

Project Objectives

To explore content shared among the true crime community while considering the potential impact that the celebrification of serial killers may have on the formation of parasocial relationships.

Project Outcomes

Braun and Clarke's (2006) six-step process to thematic analysis was applied to the analysis of the content. Five key themes emerged from the data collected: 1) Managing interactions with community members, non-members and handling criticisms; 2) Establishing group membership through shared symbols, language and meanings; 3) Using parasocial relationships to cope with personal life challenges; 4) Reactions to new media productions recreating the crime and legacy of the serial killer; and 5) Emotions associated with the creation and maintenance of Parasocial Relationships.

Thesis Title

Investigating Parasocial Relationships and Celebrification of Serial Killers in Twitter True Crime Communities