The Rise of the Micro-Celebrity


From The Big Think:

Disconnected from institutions that used to anchor us, in the good and bad senses of the term, the millennial sees herself as her own “brand,” my friend continues, which is really a new, 21st-century twist on rugged individualism, or self-reliance, that comes across in this instance as selfish. They think of work as a place where they can burnish their own status, as an individual name, even before they have a name. They are Corporations of One.

Or, they are micro-celebrities. My hypothesis is that young people are asked to function today in what amounts to a celebrity economy. In this economy, all they have to rely on is their own “brand” and name. Their celebrity-hood is micro, because it doesn’t transpire on the big screen or in larger-than-life proportions, but in the capillaries of social media, reality tv, and Twitter. It’s an inner experience of self rather than an objective state of being famous.

Put differently, the putative selfishness of millennials has an economic underpinning, and its own cultural logic. It isn’t a failing of character, but a reflection of bigger changes in economy and society.

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