Social media has proved a catalyst for a cultural shift. Fame, traditionally proved a pipe-line dream only attainable by societies elite or supremely talented. However, The rules of fame are being redefined and rewritten – or alternatively, retweeted and regrammed. No longer is fame a distant dream, but something that can be self constructed through the emergence of the micro-celebrity. Remarkably, there is no specific requirement nor talent needed to obtain said status, instead the ability to relate to others through a simulacrum representation of one’s lifestyle. Marketing here, is the most valued skill set.
Urban dictionary defines a micro-celebrity as ‘One who gains a cult or mainstream following due to viral internet distribution. Does not refer to those who have gained limited or cult followings through traditional media. Does not refer to has-beens or “B-list” celebrities.’ Put simply, a micro-celebrity is someone who carefully constructs an image and simulacrum of themselves on social media and gains notoriety for it. Without the multiple inclusive platforms, this individual would not have otherwise gained this status.
From my experience as a pleb of the social media world, I was surprised to see that a girl I danced with in year eight has gained quasi-fame through social media. Upon exploring the insta-famous of my chosen media platform, I was confused and unnerved, I social media stalked her to find out she had built herself an empire. Here I was, sitting behind my books to ungodly house of the morning to try to build an empire like advised, when I could have just posted images of myself or collaborated with makeup and hair gurus and mastered the skill of tagging. Better yet, I could have sat on the toilet and thrown out some witty banter or searched for some quality puns for twitter. Yet, alas, it was not for me.
The convergence of social media platforms and the ability to supplement one’s popularity from one platform to another is significant.Twitter is a linguistic marketplace (Bourdieu, 1977), where self-branding and the manipulation of social phenomena allows for popularity to be gained. Considering twitter as a media platform gains individuals notoriety from merely posting synthesised information. Forbes highlights the influence twitter can gain individuals of both a quasi-celebrity and A-list celebrity status, within http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/29/top-twitters-celebrities-technology-webceleb09_0129_top_twitters_slide_7.html. An example of micro-celebrity status and the work it takes to gain and attain said status is Tara Hunt who ‘spent three years accruing 25,000+ followers. She tweeted 66 times in a 24-hour…. Assuming six hours of sleep, that’s about 3.67 every hour, or once every 16 minutes’. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sasha-cagen/twitters-aspiring-micro-c_b_185992.html) This proves that twitter and the power of the individual in gaining attention from other users of the medium is significant and a powerful tool in shaping ones media persona.
Examples of the quasi-celebrity and the power of social media is the influence and culture surrounding makeup and beauty bloggers. Upon finding out that it was a part of my media and communications course to blog, I personally groaned and rolled my eyes at the thought of being one of those ‘want to be’ girls who thinks that they have the skill or extra-ordinary talent to live a comfortable life from sitting at home doing makeup for a camera. However, since engaging in my media communications degree I have changed my opinion and preach power to the people. You want to do your makeup for the world to see? You go for it sister, claim whatever status you can because the medium is the message and you have been granted the power to represent yourself however you want. Success stories and pioneers of the beauty blogging world, recognisable to most teenage girls include Lauren Curtis, Chloe Morello and Shannon Harris who live off their YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and twitter presence. Their media persona, their commodity.
Sydney Fashion Blogger is another example of what began as a quasi-celebrity status, which has now through an incredible social media following turned into an A grade celebrity status. Her ability of marketing and promoting herself as well as engaging famous and exclusive companies, allowed her to travel the world in pursuit of exclusive items and brush shoulders with the elite of this day and age, such as Kim Kardashian.
All in all, the creation of a media person can prove life changing and to some a career. The medium is the message and the message is, we all have the same opportunity to create ourselves and how we are portrayed by others, all you need is a good ground based following.
Mum, dad – I’m dropping out of uni. I know what I want to do.