Boy Bands and Twitter Trends

Jul. 15, 2016

By Amaya Worthem

When she noticed boy band fans controlled worldwide Twitter trends, journalism grad Nicole Santero wanted to know why. 

In 2015, when Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed into the Alps, killing all 150 people aboard, its hashtag quickly became the number one worldwide Twitter trend. But just a day later #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik took the top spot. It was created when a member of One Direction officially quit the band — news that prompted more than 4 million tweets in a day, far more than the 200,000 that #Germanwings had garnered.

How can the departure of a band member so overshadow such a tragic plane crash in social media? Nicole Santero, ’13 BA Communication Studies and ’16 MA Journalism and Media Studies, examined that question for her master’s thesis. Her research on the fandom phenomenon won second place in the 2016 UNLV Graduate and Professional Student Research Forum,  third place in the 2016 Greenspun College of Urban Affairs Graduate Research Symposium, and propelled her into the top 10 out of 80 master’s and Ph.D. students in the Rebel Grad Slam 3-Minute Thesis Competition.

We talked to Santero, 24, about how fans control boy band news on Twitter, her work as a social media manager for the Clark County School District, and how research skills helped her in her academic and professional career. Read more about Santero. Watch the video for Santero's advice on applying for grad school.