So, make the friendship bracelets – Swifties & the value of “weak” ties (2024)

Whatever your opinion of Taylor Swift, it’s undeniable that she’s an icon. With a net worth of USD$1.1 billion1, 14 Grammy wins, and numerous chart-topping hits to her name, it’s safe to say that her grip on the music industry, pop culture, and society at large is tightening by the day.

This has never been more evident than now, during her Eras tour – a worldwide sensation that has seen sell-out success, controversy2,3, the collapse of a relationship and the start of another.

Aside from her music, one of the things Taylor is best known for is her die-hard and loyal fan base, affectionately referred to as the Swifties. These fans are prolific online, hoping for the chance to interact with Taylor on an individual basis, and can often be found dissecting songs, interviews, and social media posts for easter eggs (or clues and callbacks) and release teases4. Known for their creativity and dedication, Swifties are now a well-known source of community for those within the Taylor Swift fandom.

Swifties the world over share theories based on official Taylor Swift Instagram posts, friendship bracelets, and information about album and launch drops. More than once has my brother, a recognised Taylor Swift Super Fan5, been awakened at 3am because someone in the USA told him about a new merch drop, and these same Swiftie connections have offered to ship items to Australia for him. The relationships between Swifties are seemingly tenuous, based on the idolisation of a single person, and yet the power of these connections is staggering. These “weak” ties have strength.

In 1973, sociology was already investigating these “weak” ties, that is, relationships that bridge different groups6. Weak ties are casual acquaintances who are influential in our lives, often in material ways such as helping find work7.

Although the Swiftie community is a group, it is made up of people from complex, intersectional backgrounds and disparate walks of life. Though we may have close friends who come from different walks of life, the “weakness” of the ties in this and other fandoms is a result of the group being held together by shared interest alone.

The Taylor Swift connection links people with different knowledge bases and resources, which these people, in turn, share with others. One thing these weak ties are especially useful for is information diffusion, or the sharing of information to people who may otherwise not have had access to it6,8.

Without these weak ties, facilitated by increased access to social media, non-U.S-based Swifties, like those in other fandoms, would miss out on exclusive, land-locked items and information pertinent to their community. Not only this, but participation in communities of weak ties allows Swifties (and other fans) to be exposed to a greater breadth of human perspective and experience, and to leave their everyday echo chambers9.

Fandoms such as the Swiftie community are important for exchanging ideas and points of view above and beyond those associated with the object of the group’s awe.

They can encourage conversation and understanding, and breed creativity. This, in turn, cultivates a sense of belonging and allows fandom members to be part of something bigger than themselves and their usual circle. Weak ties can help you find work, learn new things, meet new people, and get you through a cruel summer.

Note: The title of this blog draws on the lyrics from Taylor Swift’s song ‘You’re on Your Own, Kid’, from her album Midnights (2022)

  1. Sager J. Parade. 2024 [cited 2024 Jan 20]. “Mastermind” Indeed! Taylor Swift’s net worth In 2024 and how the “Midnights” singer got so rich. Available from:
  2. Horton A. The Guardian. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 20]. Taylor Swift slams Ticketmaster over “excruciating” ticket debacle. Available from:
  3. Saravese M. AP News. 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 20]. Heat exhaustion killed Taylor Swift fan attending Rio concert, forensics report says. Available from:
  4. The Editors. Cosmopolitan. 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 20]. 40+ of Taylor Swift’s most brilliant easter eggs, decoded. Available from:
  5. 9 News [Internet]. 2024 [cited 2024 Feb 9]. Everything Melburnians need to know ahead of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Available from:
  6. Granovetter M. The strength of weak ties: a network theory revisited. Sociol Theory. 1983;1:201–33.
  7. Dizikes P. MIT News. 2022 [cited 2024 Feb 1]. The power or weak ties in gaining new employment. Available from:
  8. Zhao J, Wu J, Xu K. Weak ties: Subtle role of information diffusion in online social networks. Phys Rev E. 2010;82(1):016105.
  9. Mastromartino B, Wang JJ, Welch Suggs D, Hollenbeck CR, Zhang JJ. Dimensions of sense of membership in a sport fan community: Factors, outcomes, and social capital implications. Commun Sport. 2022;10(6):1229–56.
So, make the friendship bracelets – Swifties & the value of “weak” ties (2024)
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