Hello stranger.

1) I am Dr Crystal Abidin.
2) I am a digital anthropologist and ethnographer.
3) I am based in Australia, Singapore, and Sweden.
4) I live on the internet, and am omnipresent as wishcrys.
5) I was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia (2018) and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (2016).
6) My books include Internet Celebrity (2018) and Microcelebrity Around The Globe (2019).
7) I used to be a percussionist, I love penguins, and Pusheen is my best friend.

Nice to meet you!



If you’re reading this page in January 2019, I am completing two book manuscripts Please Subscribe! Influencers, Social Media, and the Commodification of Everyday Life (MIT Press) and Buymylife.com: Vernacular commerce, creation, and culture in Singapore blogshops (NIAS Press).

If you’re reading this page in February 2019, I will be speaking at The Future of Media public panel in QUT. I will also be finishing up my last stint of fieldwork in Scandinavia, looking at the Influencer industry in Sweden and beyond, and giving a blitz of talks in various cities. 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 the Nordic and would like collaborate, please write to me.

For updates on my upcoming talks, see here.



I am DECRA Fellow/Senior Research Fellow with the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University (from Apr 2019), Lecturer in Digital Media with the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University (until Mar 2019), Postdoctoral Fellow with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University (until Mar 2019), Researcher with Handelsrådet (Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council) (until Mar 2019), and Adjunct Research Fellow with the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University. I live in Perth and rotate across Australia, Singapore, and Sweden for work.

I am on the Executive Committee for the Association of Internet Researchers, sit on the Editorial Boards for Cultural Science JournalConvergence, and Social Media + Society, and write regularly for 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 am currently Chief Investigator on grants awarded by the Australian Research Council, Facebook, and Handelsrådet (Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council), and Co-investigator on grants awarded by the National Heritage Board and the National University of Singapore.

I was previously Visiting Research Fellow with the Department of Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology, 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 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. My sociology projects study identity politics among mixed race persons in Singapore and Australia.

See my publications and works-in-progress. If for some reason you’d like to know how I look and sound like, here are some multimedia resources featuring my research and I.

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 has been contracted by MIT Press. 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 consultations grounded in ethnography, running research projects, producing content, and giving public lectures for a general, non-specialist audience. I teach in Anthropology, Sociology, Communications, and Media Studies. See my port folioteaching 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.

I write and do creative things for catharsis, and hang out with a bunch of creative people here.

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 AcademiaGoogle 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 page was last updated on 24 January 2019.

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

18 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hullo Crystal,

    Thank you for the “curated by Andy Young” one-liner explaining “Singapore 60 Music.” I chanced upon it on the Net looking for other 60’s music blogs and articles.

    Love your name and writing, both explaining the clearness of thoughts and ideas.

    Been trying to make my blog into a book for 5 years. Here’s what I got from a publisher, “If you put a S$10,000 deposit, we can help you to start.” I didn’t even start.

    Would you like to contribute an article for the blog?

    Do write to me when you’re free. I survive on comments.

    Thank you.



    1. Hi Andy,

      How lovely to hear from you :)
      I really enjoy your blog since having bookmarked it years ago, so this interaction is just a little bit sweeter!
      An article for the blog sounds great; I am already buzzing with ideas.
      Shall we take this to email?



  2. Hello Crystal,

    I am actually a student currently researching on ‘The Significance of Asian new media in your everyday life’, and have decided to write on “Influencers in Singapore, on how they affect my everyday life”. I have read your post and I love how your explanations are so distinctively clear!

    Was wondering if we could have a chat on your findings, views and thoughts about this topic? :)

    Hope to hear from you soon! Thank you!

    Yours sincerely,


  3. Hello Crystal, liked your pieces on Schooling and may use it for a print article that may be published this weekend. Email elaboration? Thanks


  4. Hi Crystal,

    Thanks for your hardwork and the comments on my article. Very helpful indeed. Let me know if you come to HK and we should catch up ‘offline’. :)



  5. Hi Crystal!

    I’m an undergraduate studying Digital Culture at Kings College London. I’m currently writing an in-depth annotated bibliography on your Communicative Intimacies and Selfies as Subversive Frivolity papers – I thoroughly enjoyed readying them and look forwards to new work work coming out this year!

    I had a little question regarding your participant observation with influencer agencies – could you give me some insight into what you observed with them? I’d like to follow in your steps and get permissions to observe a some agencies for my dissertation research, and was wondering what process you took to get permissions to observe?

    Hope to hear from you soon!



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