My name is Dr Crystal Abidin.
I am an anthropologist and ethnographer.
I live on the internet, and am omnipresent as wishcrys.
Nice to meet you!
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?
My book Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online (2018, Emerald Publishing) is now available on pre-order.
If you’re reading this page in April and May 2018, I am presently Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Media and Communication, Swinburne University. At Swinburne, I will be keynoting at the Selfie Subjectivies Symposium, speaking at a colloquium on The Influencer Industry, and teaching a masterclass on Internet Paralanguages. I will also be traveling to the Media Industries conference (London) to speak on a panel on “Global Developments in Social Media Entertainment”, to the Theorizing the Web conference (New York) to speak on a keynote panel on “The Next Generation”, and to the International Communication Conference (Prague) to give a paper on “Cultures of Celebrity and Labour within Tumblr’s Architecture”.
If you’re reading this page between June and August 2018, I am will be traveling through London, Perth, Shanghai, and Tartu to give a series of talks. More updates to come.
If you’re reading this page from September 2018, I am continuing fieldwork to study the Influencer industry in Sweden and Scandinavia. The project is funded by a two-year research grant from Handelsrådet (Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council), which you can read about here. If you are based in Scandinavia/Europe and would like collaborate, please feel free to write to me.
For updates on my upcoming talks, see here.
I am Postdoctoral Fellow with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University, Researcher with Handelsrådet (Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council), and Adjunct Research Fellow with the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University. I spend my time between Jönköping, Sweden and Perth, Australia, and travel often to Singapore for fieldwork.
I serve in a number of capacities on various boards, such as sitting on the Executive Committee for the Association of Internet Researchers, and on the Editorial Boards for Cultural Science Journal, Convergence, and Social Media + Society. I also write regularly for PopAnth and Cyborgology. I completed my PhD at the departments of Anthropology & Sociology, and Media & Communication at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2016. My research has drawn international accolades: In 2018 I was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for Media, Marketing & Advertising, and in 2016 I was named among the 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine. Elsewhere, I am active in various research groups in leadership and supporting roles.
I was previously Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, Co-investigator with the Science, Technology and Society (STS) cluster at the Asia Research Institute (ARI), Visiting Research Fellow with the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University, Op3n Fellow (writing fellow) with OpenCare Research at Edgeryders, Visiting Doctoral Fellow with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University, Visiting Researcher with the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and Visiting Scholar with Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
I am currently the chief investigator on a grant awarded by Handelsrådet (Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council) (Sweden, Jul 2017), and co-investigator on grants awarded by the National Heritage Board (Singapore, Mar 2017), the University of Western Australia (Australia, Oct 2016), and the National University of Singapore (Singapore, Aug 2016).
I was previously Research Assistant on two Australian Research Council (ARC) funded projects at Edith Cowan University (ECU) and the University of Western Australia (UWA). I was also Research Assistant on various projects at the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University, and at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). A summary of my professional development is here.
I focus on vernacular internet cultures and study young people’s relationships with internet celebrity, self-curation, and vulnerability. Recently, I have been writing about the virality of young children on social media, young people’s expression of grief on the internet, and practices of young coupling in East Asia. One of my sociological side projects looks at identity-making among mixed race persons in Singapore and Australia.
I am most known for my work on Influencers, a multimedia form of vocational microcelebrity on social media, also commonly known as commercial or professional bloggers, Tweeters, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and the like. While my expertise is on East Asia, my thesis looked specifically at Singapore, where I have been observing the industry since August 2007. Entitled “Please Subscribe! Influencers, Social Media, and the Commodification of Everyday Life”, I investigated how Influencers posture their personal lives and depiction of lifestyles in digital and physical spaces to be relatable, accumulate followers, and become commodifiable canvases for advertorials. An abstract and outline of the chapters are here and an ethnographic monograph is in the works. Since then, I have expanded this research to Southeast Asia, Australasia, and Scandinavia.
I curate case studies on Influencers and internet culture. In theory, this is my academic blog (I have eleven other blogs; yes, really). In practice, I am haphazardly navigating academia while whining about the weather. I like to remember things and am secretly a skilled cataloguer of everyday ethnographies and everyday conversations. This blog also archives my ambitious exploits and reflections as an early career academic.
Since 2011, I have been involved in industry and social enterprises, providing freelance consultations grounded in ethnography, running research projects, producing content, and giving public lectures. I teach in Anthropology, Sociology, Communications, and Media Studies. See my port folio, teaching resources, and teaching guides. I also write regularly for the popular press and speak frequently at public engagements. If you’d like to get in touch, drop me an email (see beep below).
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.
Before academia, I used to play in several orchestras as a percussionist (ten brownies points if you can spot me). 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. After all, who doesn’t want to grow old in style? (see for instance, Ahmah and Bob).
I like to travel and I love penguins and pusheen. Fun fact: 60% of my daily diet comprises chocolate – I kid you not. Om nom nom.
Inbox clutter? crystalabidin[at]gmail[dot]com
Here I am on Academia, Google Scholar, and ORCID
Stream of consciousness frivolity? @wishcrys
Research visuals on the go? @wishcrys
Visit my traveling projects thetravelingpingu and SMTNW.
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