Stella Marie Gaynor
Department of Media, Culture and Communication, School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
Social media engagement is becoming a significant part of true-crime fandom, providing spaces for true-crime fans to share their knowledge and obsessions. This article explores the storytelling techniques of the Cult Liter podcast and how the listeners engage with these stories on the associated Instagram account. Rather than engaging with the implications of violent crime, fans of Cult Liter on Instagram instead engage in self-promotion, like seeking behavior and in-group validation. Through analysis of episode 31, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the listener/user interaction on Instagram, this article evaluates how true-crime podcasts and social media relate to each other, echoing Seltzer’s “wound culture,” as users gather round the Instagram post as they would the scene of a crime. This article argues that social media provides a safe space where fans can indulge their fondness for stories of murder and their self-proclaimed obsession with certain serial killers.
Stella Marie Gaynor (2023) “Bones are life!” true-crime podcasting, self-promotion and the vernaculars of Instagram with Cult Liter, Popular Communication, DOI: 10.1080/15405702.2023.2281581