Following Islamic Reality Show Personalities on Twitter: A Uses and Gratifi cation Approach to Understanding Parasocial Interaction and Social Media Use
Islamic reality shows started in Malaysia with Imam Muda, produced
in 2010 by Astro Oasis. Since then, other television stations in Malaysia have also
adopted this format. Using uses and gratifi cation as a theoretical framework, a
major focus of this paper was to examine the effects of Islamic reality shows on
its audience, specifi cally on the parasocial relationships formed between Twitter
users and their favorite Islamic reality show personality. It was predicted that
active social media users would be more inclined to watch Islamic reality shows
because of specifi c Twitter habits related to the show, and level of religiosity.
A survey was conducted among students taking introductory Human Sciences
and Islamic Revealed Knowledge subjects from the International Islamic
University of Malaysia (IIUM). Among others, evidence from this research
suggests that being relatable to viewers is important for mediated characters.
Specifi cally, the level of parasocial interaction was found to signifi cantly
infl uence motivation to use Twitter, and intention to watch Islamic reality
shows in the future, because of their Twitter use. However, religiosity did not
infl uence intention to watch Islamic reality shows. The implications of these
findings on the role of parasocial interaction, and the effects of social media on
television viewing were discussed in this paper.