I had a terrific time at SXSW this year. Thanks to all the awesome people who came to my conversation: “I’m Internet Famous: Status in Social Media.” I learned that LOTS of people want to talk about internet celebrity, especially internet celebrities themselves!
Some perspectives I hadn’t thought about going in, but that my conversation-ees brought up:
1) How do you become internet famous?
2) If you are internet famous, how can you deal with it?
Obviously, these aren’t the focus of my research. I’m not interested in telling marketers how to create an “internet celebrity” and although I sort of feel for people who became unknowing internet celebrities, there’s a big difference between a self-promoting blogger and a total random like the Tron Guy. What I really wanted to talk about was elitism and how the “internet celebrity” functions in the tech world – is Anil Dash internet famous? Scoble certainly is. There’s a big difference between someone like Michael Arrington and the Tron Guy. I do think that there’s a ton of insider elitism in Web 2.0 and the focus of my dissertation is exploring this and how it affects application development and concepts of the normative user.
Here’s a brief interview with me about the basics of internet celebrity. This is the first video interview of me I’ve seen and it’s somewhat horrifying seeing yourself on film. I am happy I didn’t say “like, y’know, um” too often.
I am KEYNOTING on this subject at ROFLcon in April. I plan to focus more on microcelebrity in internet pop culture, drawing substantially from the ideas of Dr. Terri Senft. I’m also going to be spending a lot of time in the media studies literature looking at the work that already exists on celebrity. It’s quite complicated to theorize since one of the basic ideas of regular celebrity is that you know them, but they don’t know you; which isn’t always the case in small-scale internet worlds.