Mark Romanek

How does Taylor Swift connect with fans? 'Secret sessions' and media blitzes

They came from Bakersfield, San Diego, Long Beach and elsewhere across the Southland, about three dozen young women plus a handful of young men who had caught the eye of the gathering's host with posts about her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and other social media sites.

Enticed by vague invitations to be part of "an amazing opportunity," they were shuttled in luxury vans through the winding roads above Beverly Hills on a recent Saturday afternoon to a two-story mansion where they noshed on pizza and other snacks before being invited into the warmly appointed living room.

Just moments after they'd settled into couches, chairs and nine overstuffed pillows scattered...