The book Status Update, by Alice E. Marwick, introduces the readers to the book by defining Web 2.0. Unlike Web 1.0, it includes interaction, collaboration, active participation, and user generated content. The users of social media platforms, such as blogs, social networks, and photo sharing sites, create the interactive dialogue. In a communication class that I’m currently taking we talked about Social Penetration Theory that says “the more you disclose about yourself, the more trust there is between the poster and viewer.” Social media hinges on interactivity and self disclosure. Marwick talks about this during her chapter on micro- celebrities- celebrities that emerged because of their social media attention. Their content and high disclosure created a following that has turned them into a popular figure on social media accounts.
However, when they go outside, they aren’t always stopped on the street. They won’t have the attention that, say, Beyoncé would have if she walked through the middle of campus. Some would know them, some wouldn’t. Their content is more popular than their physical self. We see this on social media from the new popularity of influencers on Instagram. People have become advocates for brands and movements. However, popular “Youtubers” and “Instagramers” don’t have the same level of fame as Beyoncé.
But how does everyone reach that micro- celebrity status?
The people who have made it to that level post multiple times per day and add countless stories to their Instagram profile. They take their followers behind the scenes of their lives and the followers enjoy it. However, us users with under 1-2k followers abide by a set of “Instagram rules” that don’t make a lot of sense if we’re all trying to gain more followers at the level of micro- celebrity.
We’re told not to post too often. People wait weeks between posts so that they aren’t blowing up their followers feeds. We don’t post stories that have more than 5 pictures/ videos or else we get bored and skip through them completely. We need highly edited photos that have to match the same filter we used on our other photos so that our profile is aesthetically pleasing.
Micro- celebrities don’t follow these “rules”. But how do we break that barrier between following the social rules and reaching a wider audience? People are known to unfollow if they think you’re trying to too hard or posting too much or posting content no one cares about. How do we reach the level where people want to watch you eat a bowl of cereal and ask where your dog’s sweater is from?