Micro-celebrity

The other day I wrote about Social Currency and some of the ways that we could potentially be measured for our online presence.

BorrowdaleOne of the things that I’ve been pondering while playing with these different tools has been the social impact of these changes.

This kind of change always has extremes and today I’ve been reading about some of those through an article by Danah Boyd (apophenia) called “Publicity and the Culture of Celebritization“.

This article comments on an article in Rolling Stone about a 14-year-old teen in Florida who has created an online persona called Kiki Kannibal.

You’ve probably never heard of Kiki Kannibal but she’s created quite a stir in her sphere of influence, but it’s not all been good.

In many ways she’s created a level of online celebrity without any of the protection that wider celebrities often receive and the internet can be a very unforgiving place.

Danah makes some really interesting observations about the growing “attention economy” and our ability to deal with “micro-celebrity” and in particular the social and cultural capabilities available to us:

Widespread celebritization is the flipside of the “attention economy” coin and I think that we have a lot of deep thinking to do about the implications of both of these. Both are already rattling society in unexpected ways and I’m not convinced that we have the social, psychological, or cultural infrastructure to manage what will unfold. Some people will become famous or rich. Others will commit suicide or drown attempting to swim in these rocky waves. This doesn’t mean that we should blockade the technologies that are emerging, but it’s high time that we start reflecting on the societal values that are getting magnified by them.

I agree.

We have a long way to go before we understand what we are doing to ourselves in an online world and how we deal with it.

(Charlie pointed out Klout as another way of measuring your social connectedness. It’s interesting to see the score of people I connect to)

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