The purpose of this study was to determine the rhetorical characteristics employed by the twenty one pilots fandom in order to create and maintain a community online. The researcher details the history of fan studies and other scholarly information that have led to up to this study, in order to give a reader a better understanding of what has and has not been done in fan studies. In order to determine the rhetorical characteristics, the researcher collected almost 300 tweets from members of the fandom pertaining to the band and analyzed them using a generative criticism method. Results of the study showed four major characteristics were present in the fans' rhetoric: liveness, concert ritual, social support, and ownership. At least one of these characteristics were present in every tweet collected, and often would over-lap in certain tweets. One of the major implications of this study is that bands and labels should implement these characteristics in their everyday social media usage to create a more authentic community-building environment.


Michelle Johnson


Communication Studies


Communication Technology and New Media | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Social Media


Twitter, fans, fandom, community building, twenty one pilots

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Bailey A. Williams