Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age (2013)

Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age (2013) provides an update regarding themes addressed in a previous, and quite widely read, Machine in the Garden blog post.

Alice Marwick’s Twitter handle is @alicetiara. She is active on Twitter.

The Toronto Public Library blurb for Social Media (2013) reads:

  • Social media technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook promised a new participatory online culture. Yet, technology insider Alice Marwick contends in this insightful book, “Web 2.0” only encouraged a preoccupation with status and attention. Her original research – which includes conversations with entrepreneurs, Internet celebrities, and Silicon Valley journalists – explores the culture and ideology of San Francisco’s tech community in the period between the dot com boom and the App store, when the city was the world’s center of social media development.
  • Marwick argues that early revolutionary goals have failed to materialize: while many continue to view social media as democratic, these technologies instead turn users into marketers and self-promoters, and leave technology companies poised to violate privacy and to prioritize profits over participation. Marwick analyzes status-building techniques – such as self-branding, micro-celebrity, and life-streaming – to show that Web 2.0 did not provide a cultural revolution, but only furthered inequality and reinforced traditional social stratification, demarcated by race, class, and gender.

[End of text]

Dissertation available online

A blog post about the book entitled “Announcement: Dissertation, ‘Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Self-Branding in Web 2.0,’ now available” can be accessed here.


My experience, which is limited and anecdotal, is that social media technologies have the capacity to contribute to information sharing and networking at the local level and occasionally at a wider level. Such networking can, I believe, add in a small way to the quality of life in a community. Social media, which in my case primarily involves blogging and Twitter, in my experience can be more helpful in the sharing of information than fax machines were when they were introduced.

The point of social media, at least from my perspective, is to enable face to face meetings among a wide range of individuals, with a diverse set of skills and personalities, to occur. With face to face meetings, you have something that technology can never replace.


A Jan. 27, 2016 Toronto Star article is entitled: “New study shows you probably only have four real Facebook friends: Online social environments do not help users broaden friend groups or increase size of social networks, new study says.”


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