Status Update: Attention & Celebrity in Tech
This is a reading of my new book: "Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age" (Yale 2013). This book is a down-in-the-trenches look at tech culture-- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I spent several years talking to SF tech luminaries and immersing myself in tech culture (including 4 visits to SXSW!) to investigate what "counts" as high status among technologists. I found that the obsession with metrics and attention encourages people to treat themselves like products or celebrities - carefully designing their social media presence to appeal to an unseen and largely unknown audience. Rather than using social media for noble causes, or even to strengthen community and participation, people tweet, Facebook and Instagram to boost their popularity. Unfortunately, this has a dark side: anxiety, stress, and FOMO. While I'm a hardcore social media user, my book argues we need to be realistic about the negative and the positive of our new tools.
Alice Marwick is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University and an academic affiliate at the Center for Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School. Her research examines identity and social norms online through lenses of privacy, surveillance, consumption, and celebrity.Marwick's research projects include an exploration of sexism and misogynistic speech online; ethnographic work on youth social media use; and analysis on conspicuous consumption and gender involving fashion blogging, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Marwick is a member of the Aspen Institute task force on Learning and the Internet and a research affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.