About Me


Hello stranger.

1) I am Dr Crystal Abidin aka wishcrys.
2) I am an anthropologist and ethnographer of internet cultures.
3) I am Senior Research Fellow & ARC DECRA Fellow in Internet Studies at Curtin University.
4) I am based in Perth, Australia and travel around the Asia Pacific for fieldwork.
5) I was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30, am an ABC TOP 5 Humanities Fellow, and received the ICA Pop Comm Early Career Scholar Prize.
6) My books include Internet Celebrity (2018, Emerald Publishing); Microcelebrity Around The Globe (2018, Emerald Publishing); Instagram (2020, Polity Press); and Mediated Interfaces (2020, Bloomsbury Academic).
7) I used to be a percussionist, I love penguins, and Pusheen is my best friend.

Nice to meet you! Sort of.


15 July 2020: Want to do a PhD on Influencer cultures with me in Internet Studies at Curtin University? One position to work with Katie Ellis and I on social justice, and one position to work with Tama Leaver and I on virtual Influencers. Applications close 1 September 2020. International applicants welcome.


In March-December 2020, my East Asia-based fieldwork on Influencer Cultures in East Asia and Australia has been postponed due to COVID-19. Instead, I will be focused on digital fieldwork and writing, especially the impacts of COVID-19 on the Influencer industry, social media use and social justice cultures, meme factories and public service announcements, and misinformation on WhatsApp.

I am usually based in Perth, and my upcoming research travels in these locations have been postponed due to COVID-19: Kuala Lumpur (May), Gold Coast (May), Melbourne (May), Israel (June), Stockholm (October), and Dublin (October).

For updates on my upcoming talks and works-in-progress, see here.


I am Senior Research Fellow & ARC DECRA Fellow in Internet Studies at Curtin University, Affiliate Researcher with the Media Management and Transformation Centre at Jönköping University, and Research Fellow with the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University. I am also a Chief- or Co-investigator on projects funded by the Australian Research Council (Australia, July 2019–June 2022), Facebook (USA, January–December 2019), Handelsrådet (Sweden, July 2017–June 2019), National Heritage Board (Singapore, March 2017–March 2019), and Tencent (China, August–December 2019).

I sit on the Executive Committee for the Association of Internet Researchers, and on the Editorial Boards for Cultural Science JournalConvergence, Journal of CommunicationJournal of Sociotechnical Critique, and Social Media + Society. I completed my PhD at the departments of Anthropology & Sociology, and Media & Communication at the University of Western Australia in 2016. My research has drawn international accolades and has been recognized by the industry. I have been involved in industry and consultancy work since 2011, providing expertise grounded in ethnography, running research projects, producing content, and giving public lectures for a general, non-specialist audience. I also teach in Anthropology, Sociology, and Internet Studies.


I am an anthropologist and ethnographer of internet cultures. My body of work focuses on influencer cultures, internet celebrity, online visibility, and social media pop cultures, especially in the Asia Pacific region. I have developed several key ideas & concepts pertaining to self-presentation on the internet. See my publications and works-in-progress, and international press coverage on my work. I also speak frequently at academic and public engagements. 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, internet celebrity, and microcelebrity. You may know these personalities as commercial or professional bloggers, Tweeters, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and the like. I started this research in Singapore as an undergraduate in August 2007, and expanded it to Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Nordic over the years. My PhD thesis “Please Subscribe! Influencers, Social Media, and the Commodification of Everyday Life” 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.

I curate case studies on Influencers and internet culture. In theory, this is my academic blog (I have been blogging on eleven other blogs since 2008). In practice, I am haphazardly navigating academia while whining about the weather. I like to remember things and am secretly a cataloguer of everyday ethnographies and everyday conversations. This blog also archives my ambitious exploits and reflections as an early career academic. See here for my past affiliations and academic positions.


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 also have creative pursuits 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). I play the marimba and glockenspiel at home, and am secretly strategizing over how to sneak a vibraphone back. 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.


Email>> crystalabidin[at]gmail[dot]com
Press/media>> Email with your timezone to schedule a Skype chat.
Postal mail>> Dr Crystal Abidin, Internet Studies, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA6845, Australia

Google Scholar>>Twitter>> | Instagram>> | Curtin Profile>>
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

This page was last updated on 31 July 2020.

20 Comment on “About Me

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