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Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age [Hardcover]

Alice Marwick

Price: 17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Jan 2014 0300176724 978-0300176728
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 centre 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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Review

'It is an incisive portrait of a local culture that is rapidly becoming global: one in which attention equals success, fortune favours the self-aggrandising and luck is always mistaken for destiny.'--Jacob Mikanowski, "Prospect Magazine"--Jacob Mikanowski"Prospect Magazine" (04/24/2014)

About the Author

Alice Marwick is assistant professor, communication and media studies, Fordham University, and an academic affiliate at the Center on Law and Information Policy, Fordham Law School. Previously a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, she regularly speaks to the press on various social media topics and has written for the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and the Guardian. She lives in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my daughter's book 29 Dec 2013
By Jean A Marwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I guess you might say I am strongly biased towards this book because my daughter is the author. But I am not a techie, just have some computer experience and use facebook and twitter etc. So, I was a little worried as to whether I would understand the book at all. I just finished it a couple of days ago, and have to say that it is so well written even a non-geek like me can understand it. Parts of it are sad really because the book points to the downsides of being a "celebrity" in this world of which she writes. Alice was researching this field as she was studying for her Doctorate and she made many visits to San Francisco to meet with all kinds of people in the industry there. She has some wonderful interviews and stories from those in the tech Web world, and then goes on to make some excellent observations. Women's studies were part of her undergraduate work so it is fascinating that in this book, she discovers the whys and the wherefores of the male-driven web industry. Her interviews with many of the women are very telling. Again, a few of their stories are a little sad, and some of the women don't seem to recognize that they are only exacerbating the issues against themselves. Anyone in the industry or anyone who uses media like facebook should read this
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, all the right people hate it 2 Feb 2014
By fryjord - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Alice Marwick's book is a great ethnography of the start-up culture of Silicon Valley. She spent years as an observer, and she has an informed view on the tech culture she immersed herself in. Her chapter on the rhetoric of Web 2.0 was a particularly insightful analysis of how the way we view tech culture and talk about tech has shaped the ways we adopt and understand emerging media.

Marwick's portrayal of Silicon Valley is balanced, but it's definitely not positive. She paints a picture of status seekers who sound like they're straight out of an Edith Wharton novel. She also shows how the start-up, libertarian mindset also contributes to crazy labor practices that hurt workers. She talks about how workers put in crazy hours and take less money because they are enraptured by the relatively few "Web 2.0" success stories we're all familiar with. It's useful to note that her book pissed off a bunch of tech commenters (in various comment sections), so if you're making people mad it means you're doing some solid work and willing to look critically at your object of study.

The only reason I didn't give the book 5 stars was that it was a bit theoretically light in points. Still, read the book. It's entertaining and worth the price of admission if only for her take down of silly self help books about succeeding with social media.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful analysis of the Silicon Valley's self-promotional culture 20 Jan 2014
By Joseph M. Reagle Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent ethnography of status-seeking in the Northern California technology scene -- and online more broadly -- including lifestreaming, self-branding, and micro-celebrity. Marwick argues that Web 2.0 represents and promotes an infiltration of neoliberal, market-driven values into day-to-day relationships with others and the ways that we think about ourselves. For instance, when it comes to self-presentation, people are obliged to be "transparent" about an "authentic" self, without over sharing (not only for their own sake, and that of their relationships, but for fear of being considered a poser). Within this world, there is a strict hierarchy of accomplishment, with the engineer at the top. Typically, this is a white male, and the author shows the many ways in which issues of authenticity, self-promotion, narratives of success, and celebrity are gendered and even sexist.

Disclaimer: Marwick is a colleague of mine, none-the-less it's rare for me to enjoy a book in my field such that I take my time and read it thoroughly, which I did here.
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit hard to get through but worth it 29 April 2014
By Kc dlg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It took me two months to read this book. I would read fifteen minutes here and there. Each tidbit gave me something new to consider. Since reading this, I am experimenting with my online persona and discovering how I want to be perceived. Overall, this was a very thought provoking book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at Silicon Valley's Insiders! 8 Feb 2014
By Desiree's Shelves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I must say that it did take me a bit to get into this book. I put it down for a while, thinking it was going to be a really heavy read. But, it turned out to be quite the fascinating book! It was a lovely walk down memory lane for me, with names like Kevin Rose, Veronica Belmont and Leo LaPorte! Many others are mentioned, but these happened to be the most familiar to me. The author refers to them as micro-celebrities. They are "famous" to certain people, and are expected to be more accessible to their fans than are Hollywood type celebrities. She takes the reader with her to the glitzy parties and day to day lives of these people. Also explored are the wannabes and how they attempt to integrate into the scene!

The latter parts of the book explore topics such as micro-celebrity in detail, along with life streaming and self-branding. Very well written, it flows well and is easy enough to read! Highly recommended for those interested in the inner workings of the people in Silicon Valley.
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