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.
- Is tech culture fueled by status? If so, what counts as high status in modern tech culture?
- How do the social tools we use affect how we interact with each other and how we think of ourselves?
- What social effects does competing for likes, reblogs, and followers have?
- How do some people get so famous in tech culture? What does this say about us and our values?
- Why and how does social media cause anxiety and worry? How common is this?
- Alice Marwick Fordham University
Alice Marwick Fordham University
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