Constructing a Media Persona: Rise of the Micro Celebrity

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.

Lauren Curtis:

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/laurenbeautyy

Instagram: https://instagram.com/lozcurtis/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurenbeautyy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenbeautyy

Chloe Morello:

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChloeMorello

Instagram: https://instagram.com/chloemorello/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChloeMorelloBeauty

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chloemorello

Shannon Harris: 

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/shaaanxo

Instagram: https://instagram.com/shaaanxo/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShaaanxoYouTube

Twitter: https://twitter.com/xoshaaan

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.

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Blog: http://sydneyfashionblogger.com.au

Instagram: https://instagram.com/sydneyfashionblogger/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sydney.fashionblogger

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.

6 thoughts on “Constructing a Media Persona: Rise of the Micro Celebrity

  1. hey!
    excellent post on the topic of micro-celebrities. for me, you hit all the nails on the head, and answered all my questions in a clear and engaging manner. effective explanation of the concept, relevant sources and well examined examples. in addition to this you kept your writing engaging through the implementation of humour which I also enjoyed. Can not find a fault in this, keep it up and well done!
    – Cass

    Like

  2. This weeks lecture topic was defined really clearly and you gave a lot of relevant examples – i love all those beauty microcelebrities! I find it really amazing that YouTubers can be paid just for sitting down in front of a camera and doing their makeup – what a good job! This post showed how microcelebrities use social media platforms in order to create a fanbase. It was also heaps interesting to read 🙂

    Like

  3. Such an interesting read! You perfectly explained for me what a micro-celebrity is and helped me clarify a few things from the lecture that I was a little unclear about. Great use of examples, I personally really like all the beauty YouTubers. I look forward to reading more of your posts, great work keep it up! 🙂

    Like

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