How is celebrity constructed in the social media activist sphere? In spaces that seem to defy such engendering, that have been idealized as decentralized cyber-utopias?
The constituents of activist microcelebrity rely on metrics similar to general celebrity -- commercial viability, attractiveness, relatability, etc. all of this leads to: how is attention useful to activists? how does it hurt?
"How do activist attention and celebrity work on social media? Have we moved from the celebrity activist to the “networked microcelebrity activist,” who is more beholden to the movement than the mass media?"
rob: And I think the focus on attention makes it seem as if all you have to is pay attention to something to become a part of it
That sort of economic framework frames something collective (activism) as a matter of microdecisions of individuals, which I know some people insist on, but seems to me to import the sort of individualism many activist movements are explicitly trying to change
nathan: let’s look at something the paper starts to do: distinguishing between those using activism to get attention from those using attention to further their activism
rob: if they can distinguish themselves
nathan: the former is a microcelebrity, according to boyd and Marwick, while the latter is a “networked microcelebrity activist” according to Tufekci. the means and ends are swapped
rob: of course they are always blurred, though
nathan: of course
but as “ideal types” — conceptual categories useful to think with — i think this distinction helps clarify things
rob: I think the more one is conscious of oneself as “celebrity” or “attention seeker,” the more those ends and means get blurred.
nathan: agree, though there is less blurring in more repressive regimes. Zainab is an activist first, that is clear. in the U.S., microcelebrity and activist do blur more. in fact, Tufekci has another paper that makes a similar argument
that Occupiers maybe got too into identity politics of “being the change” they wanted to see and thus were structurally ineffectual