–Ahmed, Xuan, and Queenie–

 In this travelogue, we’ll be exploring the uses of social networking sites and their role in the creation and elevation of status, at two different levels.

1) Ordinary people: These are the people who become popular through their online activity and become ‘famous’ (ex. NonSociety’s Julia Allison, fashion blogger Bryan Boy) or, the ones that have a superior status among friends as a result of what they share in social networks (these are the ones that friends look up to and seek for suggestions because they're in the know.)
2) Celebrities: These are the people who are paid for endorsements and to be spokespersons (ex. Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian.) This people have tons of followers (on Twitter or Facebook) and have the power to influence potential customers.

What we’d like to do:

  • Understand how celebrities and normal people are branding themselves and creating an image through the use of social media and social networks.
  • Investigate the problems involving the fact that people might abuse of their 'status' and be dishonest, purposely.
  • Look into the relationship between someone’s virtual status and their real life persona.
  • Explore how social networking sites/tools/applications are used for specific purposes and to accomplish goals. In other words, what is used for what, how, and why?

7 Responses to “Social Networking Sites and Status”

  1. sjevakim says:

    Those people, who has power over SNS, are very influential, and their every word gets people’s attention all the time. I really like the creation part that how the famous users on SNS are branding themselves and creating issues. I recently read an article about Lady Gaga and 50Cent and their tweets about earth quake in Japan. While Gaga was selling bracelets to help people in Japan through her website and twitter page, 50Cent was saying on his twitter page, “Wave will hit 8am them crazy white boys gonna try to go surfing.” Those two contrast tweets brought different reactions from the society, and it could be a good example how much their words are influential. Their tweets also show that how much they can get advantage or damage on their social status from a little word on SNS.

  2. bettycwang says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic to explore. One of the issues you guys should definitely consider is when do these sectors of social networkers converge? At what point can we deduce that an ordinary person has become a “celebrity?” And when they do become a celebrity, are their endorsements, social goals or controversies as important to the general public as that of a pre- SNS celebrity? Maybe an interesting social experiment would be to see if you can somehow elevate your personal social networking status within a certain demographic. Of course, the time period could not allow for you to become a “celebrity” per-se, but you would be able to better understand the characteristics that can make a person more popular on social networking websites. I am curious to see what your primary research for your topic can turn out to be.

  3. ffornasini90 says:

    Forgive me for the humorous link: http://thedailywh.at/2011/03/18/comical-concept/
    But what you are pointing out is definitely true. Virtual status is becoming more and more detached from real life status – and that is understandable, since the Internet’s anonymity has always supported this kind of detachment.
    But what are social networking sites trying to do to make sure that this gap between virtual and real-life status disappears? For example, can Twitter’s “verified account” be applied to more common, non-famous, people? Would it be any different? Would people behave differently if they knew that their identity is not kept secret?

  4. chelseachristensen says:

    This is a really great topic! I definitely think it would be interesting to talk to some real people that perhaps do social media for a living or as you said are creating a certain online “persona.” How does what we see on the receiving end of social media relate to the actual intent or goal of the creator? For example, on the 50 Cent tweet, do you think he wrote it as a publicity stunt, knowing that it would create controversy and attention, or was it him trying to be humorous and it just came off in bad taste? Exploring this concept could yield some very enlightening content. From personal experience, I worked as a short time for Warner Music Group college representative to promote Warner musical artists. As a part of this job, I frequently posted content to my personal social pages relating to our artists, having a certain intent behind it. Facebook friends came to see me as the girl who knew all the new music stuff, but in reality, I was getting paid to pass on that content. Obviously some of my followers knew this, but others may not or may have misinterpreted my intentions of posting these things. It’s hard to judge when on one end of the spectrum or the other exactly the goals/interpretations of the other side, so I think you’ll be able to gather some valuable insight by being a mediator in this topic and looking at both angles.

  5. Yuna Park says:

    I think an interesting component to this study that you could add would be what is the return on investment for these popular twitter users? What do they expect to get out of tweeting, and what does it mean when someone has 6 million + followers, or is considered popular enough to be asked to endorse a product, or has the power to fundraise on behalf of a global cause? A lot of PR companies and publicists maintain twitter accounts for their clients, or closely track tweets about their clients and include that as part of the publicity that the client has received – what value does that add to the “brand” of the person?

  6. Matt Gorman says:

    I think this is a really interesting topic because I think we all know at least one person who doesn’t appear that interesting in real life, but has a very attractive and engaging online personality. Aside from just the personal level, though, I think something to look into would be how many companies look at Twitter followers/Facebook fans as something that is extremely valuable because by opting to receive constant updates from a company, you have expressed at least some interest in it and that you want to hear more of what they have to say. Essentially, “following” a company is a more interactive version of joining someone’s email list, which (at least I think) many people are more hesitant to do.

  7. lizcullen says:

    I enjoy this dichotomy between average people trying to utilize the internet for fame and established celebrities using the same mediums as these people for perhaps the same reasons. I think a lot of people now are addicted to an idea of social status and the feeling that their ego gets from gaining followers on the internet. Some internet celebrities eerily remind me of famous dictators the way they are able to manipulate the masses and gain the support of these followers. As other people are saying it would definitely help to look at the results of branding and see their economic gains but also how it overall effects their psyche. Maybe also look at past internet celebrities who are not as famous anymore? How do they cope with their loss of status?

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