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

Status Update (2013) addresses status and branding as it relates to social media.

Alice Marwick argues in this study that the evidence indicates that with social media, things aren’t necessarily as they appear.

The blurb for Status Update (2013) at the Toronto Public Library website 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.

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CBC podcast

A Nov. 21, 2013 CBC Spark podcast is entitled: “Full Interview: Status Update.”


A Jan. 17, 2015 Economist article is entitled: “Net costs: The internet causes inequality, selfishness and narcissism, according to a new book.”

In its review of The Internet is Not the Answer (2015) by Andrew Keen, the article concludes:

“The internet has certainly contributed to a gross increase in inequality in some areas of society. Yet the world is still in the middle of a technological revolution, and it is hard to see the picture when you are inside the frame. Unbridled techno-Utopianism shows only the revolution’s benefits, and is dangerously incomplete. It is handy, therefore, to have sceptics like Mr Keen around. But the depth of his distaste for it all risks missing the point by exaggerating the net’s many costs.”

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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