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Constructing the Public Self: online reputation and the pers

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P David Marshall

on 14 November 2014

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Transcript of Constructing the Public Self: online reputation and the pers

Constructing the Public Self: online reputation and the personification of value
By P David Marshall
Research Professor and Personal Chair in New Media, Communication and Cultural Studies
School of Communication and Cultural Studies
Deakin University

thank you
Twitter: @dmarshallmc
email: david.marshall@deakin.edu.au
Presented at the
Commerce, Production and Markets in Creative Industries Conference
, University of Hong Kong, 25 October 2014

From celebrity to the ubiquitous public self
- a form of pedagogy
- how we learn to present ourselves
- Celebrities -with the help of an industry -
are fundamentally
producing personas
Personas define the making and movement of
identity publicly
And the contemporary moment is the
moment when public identity formation - the formation of persona - is something billions engage in as we produce online identities
Turning Cultural Studies on its Head
In Cultural studies of the media, there is the study of agency in the audience - the active audience thesis: that we are not passive consumers of media, but we actively negotiate and transform the meanings that are produced.
Spectacular youth subcultures were some of the key examples used to express this activity - a form of bricolage or reassembling from available cultural artefacts: they became forms of
public personas.
Note - and consumer culture draws us back by re-appropriating these 'styles' and selling them back to us - Goth chic example above
Agency and Productivity:
Online culture intensive focus on the self
The cutting edge - Silicon Valley:
See Marwick, Alice E. 2013.
Status update : celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age
. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
"rewards those who adopt such [Neo-liberal] subjectivities" - the entrepreneur
editing the online self - the "edited self"p. 211
" a strategic self" p. 216
Promoting the self and having followers - acceptable for emerging tech stars but,
seen as cloying for those already with status p. 217
"Lifestreamers" - p. 223 " this constant monitoring against the backdrop of a networked audience creates anxiety and encourages jockeying for status, even as it brings forth new forms of social information."
Origins for analysing the meaning of online persona
Forming the public self
Goffman's work on the presentation of the self in everyday life - performative
constructing "impressions"
regions -and their separation into behaviours
Jung - "persona" - the mask for the collective self
The long history of the relationship between celebrity, reputation and publicity - they produced successful public persona
"Publi-ciety" - to describe how all forms of elite culture were engaged in publicity as a way to make themselves valuable in the contemporary world
Cleveland Amory - social commentator in his book Who Killed Society (1960) New York: Harper: pp. 143-144 ( Gundle, pp. 215-216)
Celebrities (and their assistants) have been skilled at dealing with how different technologies "present" themselves to the world
Film + cosmetics + surgery = onscreen beauty
e.g Marlene Dietrich
And the technologies of the public world:
Handsome/Cosmetics +Leading man + masculinity + female companions = legitimate star
e.g. Rock Hudson - here with
Marilyn Monroe in 1962
Social Media: expanding the production of public persona
1.4 billion daily users of social media
The development of the specular persona
The networked self - mobile technologies in monitoring and geolocation - leads to what Marwick describes as the edited self
a new technology with different exigencies for the building of impact, prestige and reputation
Registers of Performance of Persona
have different structures value
Forms of Recognition/Forms of Reputation
Case One: Miley Cyrus
Instagram: 13019866 followers; 1658 posts; 146 following
Persona Strategy: playing with the personal and intimate register to transform adolescent persona into a form of adult persona that can allow the full emotional expression of music and self to be explored
Building a new professional public persona
Assessment: Successful as her own audience demographic shifts
Take home message: the professional register in entertainment culture can play in the apparent realm of the intimate and personal effectively. This case is one where structured scandal has been an effective strategy to alter one's public persona
Twitter: 18.7 m followers; following 371
What about Justin Bieber?
Case Two: Political persona
Flashpoint - use of technology
the challenge to the professional persona
2014 Academy Award Selfie - more than 2million retweets within 6 hours - a record
like endorsements and perfumes, the selfie
articulates a way to control
one's public presentation of the self
through the technology of exposure itself
a posturing of identity that explores the interpersonal in the realm of the official public sphere
A classic case of cross-register specifically because of
its massive public display
Implications and Insights
The development of the "Attention Economy"

Presentational media: produces the personalization of the attention economy
Collectively we are drawn into producing, managing and monitoring a public persona
Increasingly these forms of identity are becoming critical to our work lives: the expansion of a portfolio culture
We employ techniques via the technology to "produce" the self, but also techniques of drawing attention:
The production of traffic
The production of stickiness
The production of beauty/ glamour
The production of visibility
The production of singularity/uniqueness
The production of notoriety
The production of sharing
The production of linking The production of monetization The production of the quantified self The production of revelation The production of data The production of information
Some examples from Twitter and Youtube that draw attention:
"5 best things to say on a date...."
"10 worst films"
1. Ranked lists
2. Invocation
"you have to read this if nothing else today"
3. Emotion
"This will make you cry"
4. Incredulity
"This is unbelievable"
5. Meme culture
streaming into the flow of a "meme"
The Implications of the Agency of Persona Production
The Intercommunication Industry services and encourages this world of revealing the self
Our self-branding work is also a form of labour/information for these industries to compile
So we produce along with our personas and possible reputations:
The production of the quantified self
The production of revelation
The production of data
The production of information
that is simultaneously valuable for ourselves and the expanding and intersecting industry of intercommunication that monitors us, aggregates us and sells us
1. a productivity of the self - an interesting form of individual agency that is also a form of producing "micro-publics" and personal publics
2. a productivity of a personalised information that circulates through the online and wider economy as aggregating and congealing forms of information about the self and its predispositions as a consumer
There are two types of productivity developing in online culture:
And in general, we individuallly are becoming strategic and self-monitoring as we work out the different formations of publics and privates that are being used and reworking our forms of revelation. These strategic online personas are adapting as they become associated with our work identities, our private identities, and our monetized identities in the Intercommunication industry
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