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Abstract: #In$tagLam

#In$tagLam: Instagram as a repository of taste, a brimming marketplace, a war of eyeballs

Bloggers in Singapore are fast becoming Asia’s new generation of lucrative entrepreneurs. Through ‘lifestyle blogs’ containing personal diary entries, interwoven with personalized advertisements and paid reviews, their private lives become a tool for selling products and services. This manufactured persona has in recent years begun to be broadcast on other social media, including Instagram. Instagram is now the fastest growing media application among mobile-savvy users in Singapore (Aw Yeong 2013). Originally a photo-sharing application, bloggers have innovatively used Instagram to crowd source for content, sell advertising space, and advertise their blogging enterprise. These publicity avenues are especially sought after among prominent bloggers whose Instagram ‘followers’ number in the tens of thousands. As a result of these emerging practices, entanglements such as the ownership of hashtags, competitive strategies to be featured on Instagram’s ‘Popular Page’, and tagging ‘wars’ have arisen within an industry where personal lives are real-time billboards. This chapter has three aims. Firstly, it shows how young lifestyle bloggers use Instagram to ‘perform’ taste. Secondly, it reveals Instagram as an innovative medium for advertising in the electronic market place. Thirdly, it investigates bloggers’ strategies to increase their viewership on Instagram.

Abidin, C. (2013) “#In$tagLam: Instagram as a repository of taste, a brimming marketplace, a war of eyeballs” Mobile media creativity in an age of Smartphones Symposium, Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) & Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa (MINA), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne. Dec 9, 2013.

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