This is a clipping I have been reading in the Emirates in-flight magazine whilst flying back home today. I really do think it pictures realistically our generation and it’s relationship with communicating and using social networks these days. It specifically is true as far as Airboy is concerned. The other day, my flatmate’s friend (Daniel) was amazed at how many people read the blog daily….
Whenever Peter Hirshberg is at a party, someone eventually pulls out a camera and takes a snapshot with him in it. Hirshberg – chair at the executive committee for the blog search company Technorati – performs a quick mental calculation: Does the photographer look like one of these people who will immediatly dash home and post all their candids on Flickr ? “If I think it’s going to end up on the web, I straighten up more, put on the right smile” Hirshberg says. “Because if it goes online, people I know will most probably see it.”.
Hirshberg has a blog; which means a couple hundred people, some strangers, some friends, regularly follow his comings and goings, his Facebook updates, his online photo trail. Any time he does something embarassing or stupid, those people will know. So in essence, Hirshberg has to behave like a very minor version of Brad Pitt. He’s got to watch out for the papparazzi, be careful with his public image. But he’s not a celebrity. He’s a microcelebrity.
Microcelebrity is the phenomenom of being extremely well known not to millions but to a small group or niche. As DIY media reach ever deeper into our lives, it’s happening to more and more of us. Got a Facebook account ? A whack load of pictures on Flickr ? Odds are there are complete strangers who know about you, and maybe even talk about you.
If you really want to see the future, check out teenagers and twentysomethings. WHen they go to a party, they make sure they’re dressed for their close up – because there will be photos, and those photos will end up online. In managing their web presence, they understand the impact of logos, images and fonts. And they’re increasingly careful to use pseudonyms or private accounts when they want to wall off the more intimate details of their lives.
I now use a few coy tricks to communicate with those who follow me online. Whent the backlog of unanswered messages in my inbox grows too huge, I’ll post a message to Facebook or Twitter pleading “Snowed under by work” in the hope that my audience will cut me some slack. In essence I’m sending out press releases. Adapting to microcelebrety means learning to manage our own identity and “message” almost like a self contained public relations department. “People are using the same techniques used on Madison Avenue to manage their personal lives”, says Theresa Senft, a media studies professor and one of the first to identify the rise of microfame. “Corporation are getting humanised, humans are getting corporatised.”
You could regard this as a sad development – the whole BRAND CALLED YOU meme brought to its grim apotheosis. But haven’t our lives always been a little public and stage-managed ? Small town living is a hotbed of bloglike gossip. Every time we get dressed – in power suits, nerdy casual wear or goth piercing – we’re broadcasting a message about ourselves. Microcelebrity simply makes the social engineering we’ve always done a little more overt – and maybe a little more honest.
I think there’s not pretention in being a blogger, only Perez Hilton will disagree, some might think otherwise but sharing your ideas is the main goal here, sharing information is another. Being known for what you share is a side effect, some appreciate it ! some don’t !
In other news, As you might of gathered, I’ve landed in Paris CDG 2 days ago at around half eight. Dad came to pick me up against a bottle of whiskey, that was the deal. Oh yeah nearly forgot to mention Dubai Intl. is flippin’ HUGE ! ONE good thing though, they have FREE WIFI, unlike european airports, which is a life saver while you wait for boarding.
Flight over was pretty much uneventful, Samir, a guy that was at the Emirates Open Day with me was on duty so I got someone to talk to at least. But I gotta say, the company of my MacBook is sufficient on a 6 hour flight! Khalas Bla-bla. When I get picked up, Dad will zoom straight into town for a drink with MotherOfSodwee, and exam-free BrotherOfSodwee. I have no idea what I’m up to next but surely will check out on the french gang and the english tomorrow.
Arrrhhh and the smell of that freshly baked baguette floating from every street corner is just divine. I completely forgot the taste of a REAL FRESH baguette until I munched my way into one early in the afternoon. Dubai lacks desperately of a good french bakery. I was feeling like that kid in the picture. Reminds me of the burden that Mum or Dad used to delegate to their progenitures without choice and with insistance : “It’s your turn today, Ben, to get the baguettes, it’s either that or you end up doing the washing up for the rest rest of the week, and don’t forget, I want them baguettes nice and NOT OVERCOOKED ! AND DON’T EAT HALF OF IT BEFORE YOU COME HOME OR I’LL SEND YOU GET SOME MORE!” aaaaawww memories memories…
Finally taking some quality time enjoying my numerous beers at sun filled terraces, enjoying the sights of a Parisian-empty Paris, they seem to have deserted the place which is very nice. Seeing pals, partying here and there…
more updates soon… But before I go can I leave you with some entertaining shizzz Hadrien, a mate of mine here, introduced me yesterday. Have you ever wondered what the American Navy was up to when they’re not invading a country ? Well here is your answer :