Greetings everyone! This blog post will focus on the main discussion of the book internet celebrity: Understanding Fame Online by Abidin (2018).
Throughout the book, Abidin (2018) highlights the ways in which celebrity culture has evolved, and how it is growing to the point where ordinary people are able to garner popularity through one-off videos that go viral, and as a result, they manage to turn their ‘fame’ into a career (Abidin, 2018).
The first section of the book is titled ‘What’s an internet celebrity anyway?’ which establishes the main discussion of the book, then the following chapters of the book explore the ‘Qualities of Internet Celebrity’, ‘Internet Celebrity and Traditional Media’ and finally, ‘From Internet Celebrity to Influencers’. Celebrity is an ambiguous term as there are many ways to interpret it. However, decades ago, the word celebrity was probably not as complex as it is today. Since the internet, the world has witnessed a rise in internet celebrities all around the world, thus creating a space as well as an opportunity for the masses to gain fame. According to Abidin (2018), ideas about the ‘internet celebrity’ have been centered on just one particular type of celebrity, known as the Influencer. Right now, Influencers dominate the social media scene and prior to reading the book, for the most part, I would have associated internet celebrities with social media influencers. Yet the concept of internet celebrity goes beyond just the influencer as there is a deeper history of online fame that Abidin (2018) looks into, as well as other realms of online celebrities.
During the early days of web 2.0, The ‘DIY CELEB’, and Micro Celeb would gain popularity by creating and posting original content or by performing on the internet and creating a public persona of themselves. This concept of the DIY celeb and micro celeb stood out to me because many influencers today, operate in the same way. The main difference is that at one-point blogs were “once the outlet of choice for people” (Kopytoff, 2011), whereas today, due to the rise of digital media, people began to use social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter as a means to share and promote their content to a wider audience.
Overall, Abidin’s book reveals how traditional celebs paved the way for ‘DIY’ celebs and ‘Micro’ celebs, and today those two concepts have morphed into a new form of celebrity which we know as the influencer. Through using many case studies not just from the Western world but from Asian countries such as China and Japan. Lastly, without the audience or the consumers, internet celebrity culture would cease to exist as they need to engage with their audience in order to build their social capital (Kaul & Chaudhri, 2017).
Abidin, C. (2018). Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online. Emerald.
Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., Lampe, C. (2011). Connection strategies: Social capital implications of Facebook-enabled communication practices. New Media & Society, 13, 873–892. doi:10.1177/1461444810385389
Kaul, A., & Chaudhri, V. (2018). Do Celebrities Have It All? Context Collapse and the Networked Publics. Journal of Human Values, 24(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1177/0971685817733568
Kopytoff, V. (2011, February 20). Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter. The New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/technology/internet/21blog.html?_r=1&ref=global-home