Attention whores and internet mores: The lifecycle and labour of Influencer affects and moralities

Many young people are now vocationally pursuing microcelebrity on the internet as commercial, cross-platform, and highly relatable Influencers. However, unlike content creators in specific genres such as fashion, food, or parenting, Influencers in the highly feminized “lifestyle” genre rely on developments in their personal lives to cultivate relatability with followers and establish their self-branding. In the absence of a commercial object as buffer, the criticism that such feminine Influencers receive often pertain to their bodies, internet personae, and imagined private lives. Yet, considering their body positivity, intentional publicness, and flair for baiting attention, popular wisdom often dictates that such Influencers “deserve” the hate they get for being “attention whores”. More pressingly, certain types of racialized, aged, and sexualized feminine bodies are policed more so than others, in a tension among beauty hegemony, othered self-containment, and sanitized exoticism. As such, some lifestyle Influencers encounter dilemmas and difficulty in redeeming themselves. Building on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this talk discusses the types of content young feminine Influencers produce on their digital estates, the types of reactions they encounter, and how they respond to these experiences. At the confluence of affect, hate, morality, and controversy, what emerges is a vernacular of internet mores and who gets to claim fame, as lifestyle Influencers labour over the terrain of online affects and moralities.

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For the keynote: Abidin, Crystal. 2017. “Attention whores and internet mores: The lifecycle and labour of Influencer affects and moralities.” Affective Politics of Social Media, University of Turku, Turku. October 12-13, 2017. <Link>