Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Cian Mooney 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

Hi my name is Cian, I am a 2024 graduate from Applied Psychology, where I specialised in the technology and user experience path. My interest in marketing, particularly in the intersection of psychology and marketing, led me to focus my research project on parasocial relationships (PSRs) among social media influencers.

Project Description

My thesis explores parasocial relationships (PSRs) between social media influencers and their followers. PSRs are one-sided connections where fans emotionally invest in someone, who may not be aware of their existence. This study investigates how influencers perceive and manage these relationships.

Using Thematic Analysis, I uncovered key themes highlighting how influencers perceive and engage with their audiences. The research reveals how influencers develop these connections through personalised content and online interactions, while also maintaining a degree of dissociation from their following.

Project Objectives

The primary aim of this research is to understand how social media influencers perceive and navigate parasocial relationships (PSRs). By analysing influencers' perspectives through interviews, I gained insights into how they create and manage their online personas.

Project Outcomes

This project provided insights into how social media influencers perceive and interact within parasocial relationships. By identifying key themes in influencers' experiences, a deeper understanding was gained of their online presence and audience engagement strategies. These findings can aid in comprehending the evolving nature of online relationships.

Thesis Title

Exploring How Social Media Influencers Foster Parasocial Relationships for Personal Gain