Celebrity as a “Practice”

When constructing a persona online I’m sure that we all at some point wished we were, Instagram famous, or had millions of twitter followers, or millions of likes on our Facebook pages, but in reality this isn’t the case. Fame comes into power, and expanding that power is as easy as uploading or texting a thought through a pc or mobile device.

With the increased access to technology and its power to disperse content, this has transformed ‘micro-celebrity’ which is a set of practices that attribute to a fan maintenance base and public identity. To gain public power there is the urgency for fans to acknowledge the practitioner (Marwick, Alice, Boyd, Danah, 2011, p. 140).

We see the term celebrity as a practice, this practice involving a never ending maintenance for a fan base, an intimacy within the social sanctity, access and legitimacy, the creation of an expendable identity and edges that co-exist in relation to public exposure.

Edges which are the links and connections of networks which express different types of relationships such as collaboration, investments, followers and shared attributes (Hansen, Derek. Shneiderman, Ben. Smith, Marc, 2011)

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Don’t you agree that when you go on social media, such as Instagram, you follow a celebrity and you want what they have, you want the fame, you want the clothes, you want to be in the places that they have been. It’s that sense of desire of that title in which a famous person uses social media to engage intimately with the public.

We construct our own identifies through such influences (Hansen, Derek. Shneiderman, Ben. Smith, Marc, 2011)

Social media therefore allows intimacy to be dealt with, whilst maintaining a distance without consulting agents or security guards.

Twitter for instance allows celebrities to share thoughts as well as providing public endorsement for additional twitter streams. With its additional edges connections are made through “following”, “reply to” and “mention” to form relationships (Hansen, Derek. Shneiderman, Ben. Smith, Marc, 2011, p.37). The idea of “degree centrality” emphasises the way in which a person has many connections, some may have more significant contacts than others. However if written by ghost twitterers, fake accounts or assistants the twitter experience for the fans becomes insignificant, fans want to know the celebrity, the personal, controversial and the ultimately the truth (p. 149). Although such social media does bring people closer today, status is obviously not made different, it distinguishes more the non-celebrities as their posts don’t obviously receive the same media attention.

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dfeUnless you are a Facebook-recognised celebrity, you will be able to use the new iOS app “Facebook Mentions” which requires a “Verified” account log in, helping manage their accounts as a public figure. This new app allows celebrity’s to see posts that mention them, so their newsfeed would only be consisting of references of them, allowing them to respond quickly. Facebook mentions allows Q&A’s to be brought to the app, competing with twitter to which is vastly used by celebrity’s (Olivarez-Giles. N, 2014).

As a practitioner yourself, do you feel like your persona is needed for greater attention and a greater fan base? You could be a celebrity one day, who knows!

References

Marwick, Alice, Boyd, Danah (2011) ‘To See and Be Seen: Celebrity Practice on Twitter.’ Convergence: The international Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 17(2) 139-158.

Hansen, Derek. Shneiderman, Ben. Smith, Marc. 2011. ‘Social Network Analysis: Measuring, Mapping and Modeling Collections of Connections’. Analyzing Social Media Networks. Morgan Kaufman: Burlington. pp.31-50.

Olivarez-Giles. N, (2014), Celebrities Only for Facebook’s New ‘Mentions’ iOS App, Personal tech news, http://blogs.wsj.com/personal-technology/2014/07/17/celebrities-only-for-facebooks-new-mentions-ios-app/, [Accessed 11 May 2015]

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