New pop article: Layers of Identity

Moshimoshi folks,

My latest piece for Real Life is on Influencer culture: On how to look extremely real when you are extremely online.

Read Layers of Identity: How to be “real” when everyone is watching, as part of the week’s series on Influencers.

“for influencers to convince an audience that they are being authentic, it is not enough for them to merely show themselves without “artifice”: barefaced, with a bedhead, and in pajamas. Instead, they must actively juxtapose this stripped-down version of themselves against the median and normative self-presentations of glamour, to continually create and assign value to new markers — faults and flaws, failures and fiascos — to affirm the veracity of their truth-ness.”

“An audience is enticed into trying to evaluate and validate how genuine a persona is by following the feedback loop across the front stage of social media and the backstage of “real life,” through inconspicuous and scattered holes or gateways that were intentionally left as trails for the curious.”

/C

Keynote video: Cultures of Internet Celebrity on YouTube

Moshimoshi folks!

In March, I had the pleasure of keynoting at the Brand Experience Through New Media Event at Aalto University, in a building that was really a luxurious Finnish spa resort masquerading as a place of higher learning.

If you are so inclined, here is 23:59 of me speaking on Cultures of Internet Celebrity, based on my forthcoming book, Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online.

Many many thanks to Miikka Lehtonen, Markus Ahola, and Tanja Sihvonen for the invitation and for pulling this together with your super efficient team and the unrivalled Finnish hospitality.

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The event was held in Mordor with giant mustard bean bags and giant table lamps for the Cosiest Atmosphere At An Academic Event ever. I almost didn’t want the event to kickoff so that I could lounge in Mordor forever in my matching mustard sweater.

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We ended the day with a 47:36 panel discussion and Q&A on Influencer cultures, featuring yours truly and Stina Varsikko of Splay, moderated by Miikka Lehtonen. Watch that goodness here:

/C

Podcast with The Human Show: Influencers and Youth Online.

Hi folks!

I was invited to be on a podcast with the good people over at The Human Show, shedding light on what it is anthropologists actually do. Here is 35:32 of me dishing some brain foods on Influencers, youth cultures online, the place of platforms and traditional media in the age of internet celebrity, and the value of anthropology.

Highlights include:
–04:39 on how we can practice participant observation on the internet
–06:17 on the value of Influencers beyond commerce
–10:30 on how Influencers and platforms impact each other
–18:36 on the relationship between Influencers and traditional media
–26:46 on whether young internet celebrities are just being exploited online
–28:23 on truth bombs about whether you should sign up for a PhD or work as a practitioner anthropologist

Includes gold nugget streams-of-consciousness such as:
“if you do decide to pursue academia, by doing a higher postgrad study, always keep your doors open. Don’t be the type of person who’s really confident that you’ll finish your PhD and be a professor and retire and then die, because those things do not exist anymore. At the same time, don’t be too despaired by all the quit lit that academia is a crazy space, because there are people who have found communities, who have found like-minded people who enjoy the work you do. And we do find ways to call out insecurities and inequalities as we see it to make this environment better for all of us who are living in it.”

I hope you enjoy it (and not hate my voice as much as I do).

/C

Not Just Another Gangnam Style: Framing politics and internet celebrity in East Asia

Last week, a popular commentary article covering my work on East Asian internet celebrity was published on The American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology News as part of the Digital Anthropologies in East Asia series. Read it here. Continue reading Not Just Another Gangnam Style: Framing politics and internet celebrity in East Asia