Skip to content


Hello stranger. This is, the internet home of Professor Crystal Abidin aka wishcrys. Following the convention of Malay names, I go by ‘Prof/Dr Crystal’ rather than ‘Prof/Dr Abidin’. I am an anthropologist and ethnographer of internet cultures, focusing especially on influencer cultures, internet celebrity, online visibility, and social media pop cultures, mostly in the Asia Pacific region.

I grew up in Singapore, used to be based in Sweden, and now live in Perth, Western Australia. I work as Professor and ARC DECRA Fellow in Internet Studies at Curtin University; Director of the Influencer Ethnography Research Lab; Deputy Director at the Korea Research Centre; Associate Investigator at the Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; Programme Lead of Social Media Pop Cultures at the Centre for Culture and Technology; and 2022 Provost Fellow. I am also the Founder of the TikTok Cultures Research Network; Editor-in-Chief of Media International Australia; and Affiliate Researcher with the Media Management and Transformation Centre at Jönköping University.

My research has won international accolades, with notable awards including WA Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2022), The Australian Top 40 Early Career Researchers (2021), ABC TOP 5 Humanities Fellow (2020), ICA Pop Comm Early Career Scholar Prize (2020), Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia (2018), and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (2016). In 2022 I delivered the Annual Steve Jones Internet Research Lecture for the International Communication Association, and in 2021 I was appointed Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellow at the Department of Communications and New Media at National University of Singapore. I am also the 2022 Provost Fellow at Curtin University, undertaking leadership work to develop campus policy in relation to online aggression and harassment.

I have published extensively in academic and popular media outlets, and my books include Internet Celebrity (2018, Emerald Publishing); Microcelebrity Around The Globe (2018, Emerald Publishing); Instagram (2020, Polity Press); Mediated Interfaces (2020, Bloomsbury Academic); and tumblr (2021, Polity Press). I have four forthcoming books on blogshop cultures, influencer cultures, TikTok youth cultures, and social media pop cultures in South Korea. I have developed several key ideas & concepts in digital cultures, which have been noted in international press coverage and my long-term engagements with industry and consultancy work.

I am a prolific keynote speaker, plenary panelist, and lecturer, and actively update a repository of multimedia resources to communicate my research to the general public. My upcoming talks and works-in-progress are updated regularly. I curate case studies on Influencers and internet culture, and this blog also archives my journey and reflections as an early career researcher. 

I serve on the Editorial Boards for Cambridge Journal of Anthropology; Cultural Science Journal; Convergence; Global Media and China; Global Perspectives (Technology and Global Change section); Journal of Communication; Journal of Computer Mediated Communication; Journal of Sociotechnical Critique; Social Media + Society; and Television & New Media, as well as several book series for Bloomsbury. I was previously elected to serve two terms on the Executive Committee for the Association of Internet Researchers, and have also served on the Advisory Boards for various projects at Facebook, Google, and Instagram, and been involved in closed-door consultations for Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Intel, and Social Science Research Council.


At present, I am focused on producing outcomes for my project on Influencer Cultures in East Asia and Australia (funded by the Australian Research Council DECRA), and growing the Influencer Ethnography Research Lab (IERLab) at Curtin University.

For my upcoming talks and forthcoming research, see here.

A selection of my latest:


Before academia, I dreamt of being a full-time percussionist and trained in a few orchestras. I play the marimba and glockenspiel at home (RIP my keyboard and violin and drums), and am secretly strategizing over how to acquire a vibraphone. Deep inside, I still believe that one day in the future I will return to my first love and grow old playing percussion with other silver-haired people. I would be content to grow wise and cool like Ahmah and Bob.

I held several casual jobs in various industries to support myself through grad school, with the most interesting being my role as a 24/7 library officer (think being wide awake at 0400hrs in the morning to keep a building in order) with some incredibly nocturnal co-workers.

I love penguins and Pusheen and chocolate.


Email>> crystalabidin[at]gmail[dot]com

Postal mail>>  Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, WA6845, Australia

Google Scholar>>
CoE Digital Child>>

Drop me a note. Or five. Or better still, send me .gifs of penguins.

This website and a proportion of its content is copyright of Crystal Abidin – © Crystal Abidin 2008

This page was last updated on 27 February 2023..

1 reply »