Tuesday, March 29, 12:30 pm Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
In the mid-2000s, journalists and businesspeople heralded “Web 2.0” technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as signs of a new participatory era that would democratize journalism, entertainment, and politics. By the decade’s end, this idealism had been replaced by a gold-rush mentality focusing on status and promotion. While the rhetoric of Web 2.0 as democratic and revolutionary persists, I will contend that a primary use of social media is to boost user status and popularity, maintaining hierarchy rather than diminishing it. This talk focuses on three status-seeking techniques that emerged with social media: micro-celebrity, self-branding, and life-streaming. I examine interactions between social media and social life in the San Francisco “tech scene” to show that Web 2.0 has become a key aspect of social hierarchy in technologically mediated communities.
Alice Marwick is a postdoctoral researcher in social media at Microsoft Research New England and a research affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Her work looks at online identity and consumer culture through lenses of privacy, surveillance, consumption, and celebrity. Alice has a PhD from the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, a MA from the University of Washington and a BA from Wellesley College. She has published in New Media and Society, Convergence, First Monday, Critical Studies in Media Communication and Information, Communication & Society. Marwick is a frequent presenter at academic and industry conferences and has appeared in The New York Times, The American Prospect, The Guardian, BusinessWeek and Wired Magazine. Her dissertation, "Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Self-Branding in Web 2.0" is available at her blog, http://www.tiara.org/blog.