abidin_internet celebrity_cover


The face of internet celebrity is rapidly diversifying and evolving. Online and mainstream celebrity culture are now weaving together, such that breakout stars from one-hit viral videos are able to turn their transient fame into a full-time career. This book presents a framework for thinking about the different forms of internet celebrity that have emerged over the last decade, taking examples from the Global North and South, to consolidate key ideas about cultures of online fame. It discusses the overall landscape, developments and trends in the internet celebrity economy, and cross-cultural lessons.

網路名人的現象持續演化,並朝多元化方向發展。線上名人與過往的主流名人文化已密不可分地交織著。一支因病毒式行銷影片爆紅的人,甚至能把這樣的名氣轉換成一份全職的工作。 本書提供一個思考近十年不同型態網路紅人的架構,取材自全球南北各地,並試圖分析文化與線上名氣的關鍵概念。本書也討論網路名人的整體樣貌、發展、網紅經濟的趨勢,以及跨文化的課題。

Published 16 July 2018.
Preview ten pages here.
Printable flyers in English and Chinese.

For a PR kit, review copies, and bulk purchases, please write to Sarah Broadley at sbroadley[at]emeraldgroup[dot]com.
For a PR kit in the UK, please write to Katherine Lowe at Katherine.Lowe[at]oppuk[dot]co[dot]uk.
For translation opportunities, please write to Becky Taylor at btaylor[at]emeraldgroup[dot]com.
For book tours and press enquiries, please write to me at crystalabidin[at]gmail[dot]com.

Book acknowledgements here.



“A succulent collection of up to date and incisive contributions to the field of global micro-celebrity. It offers an impressive array of new ideas and arguments to help us to understand and research one of the characteristic developments of our time.”
–Chris Rojek, Professor of Sociology, City, University of London

“Crystal Abidin has produced a most useful book. It brings our understanding of internet celebrity right up to date, and does so with an exemplary attention to its proliferating diversity of form, content, structure and location.”
–Graeme Turner, University of Queensland

“Teachers: want your celebrity lectures to reflect developments on YouTube, Instagram and Twitch? This is your book. Students: want a way to link theories of branding, taste, and authenticity to stories about viral memes, extreme eating channels, and “buying likes”? This is your book. All Readers: Want a globally-focused primer on an emergent entertainment phenomenon that is as (at times) as baffling as it is (at times) lucrative? This is definitely your book.”
–Dr. Theresa M. Senft, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia



Emerald website: Use discount code “LIKE” for 30% off.
Book Depository
Google Books

If you are an instructor looking to purchase copies of the book for your class, bulk discounts are available at 50 and 100 copies. Please write to Sarah Broadley for enquiries at sbroadley[at]emeraldgroup[dot]com.


Book talks 

Sep18: Jönköping
Oct18: Boston, Manchester, Oxford, Sussex
Nov18: Singapore
Jan19: Helsinki
Feb19: Oslo
Mar19: Stockholm

30 October 2018: [title tba] Public Lecture, Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University, Birmingham.

29 October 2018: [title tba] Book tour, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics, London.

25 October 2018: [title tba] Public Lecture, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield.

24 October 2018: [title tba] Public Lecture, Faculty of Arts, University of Nottingham, Nottingham.

23 October 2018: [title tba] Public Lecture, London College of Communication, University of Arts London, London.

09 October 2018: “Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online.” Book tour, Department of Sociology & Department of Communication, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal.

26 September 2018: [title tba] Research Seminar, Textile Management, Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Borås.

25 September 2018: “Influencers and Everyday Intimacies.” Social Media Intimacy and Everyday Life Unit, Communication Studies, Roskilde University, Roskilde.

18 September 2018: “Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online.” Higher Seminar Series, Department of Media and Communication Studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm.

05 September 2018: “Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online.” Seminar Series, Department of Media and Communication, Lund University, Lund.

23 August 2018: “Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online.” Digital Methods Summer School, University of Tartu, Tartu.

01 June 2018: “Tap that, Hack that, Map that: Economies, Cultures, and Materialites of Instagram.” Instagram Conference 2018, London. <Link | Abstract>

01 May 2018: “The Influencer Industy: Histories, economics, and cultures.” Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. <Register | Abstract>

27 April 2018: “The Next Generation.” Theorizing the Web, New York. <Video | Link | Link>

21 March 2018: “From internet celebrities to Influencers.” MMTC Research Seminars, Jönköping.

15 March 2018: “Cultures of internet celebrity on YouTube.” Brand Experience through New Media. Aalto University & Vaasa University, Helsinki. <Register | Link | Video 01 | Video 02>

22 January 2018: “Internet celebrities and the mainstream press in the age of viral media.” CCAT Seminar Series, Perth. <Abstract>



“New and noteworthy – 9 August 2018.” Times Higher Education, 9 August 2018. <Article>

“5 Misconceptions about internet celebrities by Crystal Abidin.” Female First, 31 July 2018. <Article>

“SocietyNow: Why study ‘frivolous’ topics like internet celebrity and selfie culture?” Emerald Publishing, 15 June 2018. <Podcast>

“Internet celebrity and Influencer cultures.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio Melbourne, 11 April 2018. <Audio>

“Crystal Abidin: Influencers, Youth Online and the Intersections of Social Media and Traditional Media.” The Human Show, 27 March 2018. <Podcast>



List of Illustrations

1) What is an Internet Celebrity Anyway?
A brief history of internet celebrity
–Traditional celebrities
–Ordinary people as celebrities
–Reality TV celebrities
–Celebrity-audience relations
–DIY celebrity
–Internet celebrity
What about traditional celebrities on the internet?

2) Qualities of Internet Celebrity

3) Internet Celebrity and Traditional Media
Eyewitness viral stars
–Cashing in on catchphrases
–Is it wrong to laugh?
–Who profits?
Meme personalities
–Face of memes
–Meme personae
–Meme celebrities
–Unwilling memes
Spotted and groomed investments
–The Ellen factory
–Commodified childhoods
Crowd-puller cameos
–Lending fame
–When borrowing backfires
–Censorship across platforms
Weaponized microcelebrity
–Context and control
–YouTubers talk back

4) From Internet Celebrities to Influencers
Architecture of the Influencer industry
–Blogshops, commercial blogging, and Influencers
–Influencer agencies and managers
–Generating income
Shadow economies of the Influencer industry
–Bot followers & Account purges
–Hashtag spam & Shadow ban
–Instagram pods & Twitter decks
Global implications of the Influencer industry
–Social issues
Recent shifts in the Influencer industry
–Archive culture → Streaming culture
–Tasteful consumption → Amateur aesthetic
–Platformed fame → Cross-platform Influence
–Attention economy → Affection economy
–Quantitative metrics → Qualitative impact

Further Reading
–Digital platforms + Content creation
–Digital tools + Self-branding
–Blogging + Fashion
–Internet-native formats + User norms
–Internet celebrity + Culture


In the wild

A humble request: It is always an anxious exercise putting ideas into words, words onto paper, and paper into book form for the world to see. It would be a romantic experiment to watch this little book roam across places akin to the folklore of the traveling garden gnome, so please allow me to trace this journey by sending me your digital postcards, i.e. photographs of this text “in the wild”, to be catalogued here.


This page was last updated on 31 July 2018.