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Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age Hardcover – November 26, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Marwick makes a compelling case that the rhetoric does not always match the reality, particularly when it comes to social media."—Ravi Mattu, Financial Times
(Ravi Mattu Financial Times)

“[Marwick is] a keen ethnographer of Silicon Valley.”—Sue Halpern, New York Review of Books
(Sue Halpern New York Review of Books)

“A must-read for anyone interested in the culture of the tech world and in the techniques of status-building in contemporary digital society.”—Finola Kerrigan, Times Higher Education Supplement
(Finola Kerrigan Times Higher Education Supplement)

"Marwick brilliantly gets beneath the shiny exterior of the Web 2.0 startup scene to uncover the ways in which geeks, entrepreneurs, and technologists use their creations to jockey for status and seek attention. This book is critical for all who care about or use social media."—danah boyd, Microsoft Research
(danah boyd 2013-06-17)

“With thoughtfulness and rigor, Marwick explains the importance of major social networks from cultural, economic, and human standpoints. Status Update offers a true understanding of what it means to share ourselves online, with a healthy skepticism about Silicon Valley’s utopian promises.”—Anil Dash, ThinkUp
(Anil Dash 2013-08-05)

"Marwick masterfully weaves together what motivates us as humans and what defines identity online. If you want to understand the future of social media, this book is required reading."—Dennis Crowley, co-founder Foursquare
(Dennis Crowley 2013-08-12)

"San Francisco and environs have long been the home of American dreaming. In this fascinating book, Marwick interrogates Silicon Valley’s recent dream: Web 2.0 and the tools and behaviors it spawned."—Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus
(Clay Shirky 2013-08-05)

"Marwick's lively, sophisticated book shows how deeply intertwined our lives are with the whims and biases of a handful of coders. An essential read for anyone who is curious about how social media work."—Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of The Googlization of Everything—and Why We Should Worry
(Siva Vaidhyanathan 2013-08-12)

Status Update is a deft and graceful guide to the topsy-turvy digital world of free labor, self-branding and micro-celebrity. If you’re still wondering why you sent that last Tweet—and whether it will really help you get a job, a reputation, or a new kind of life—read this book.”—Fred Turner, author of From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
(Fred Turner 2013-07-24)

“In an industry thick with mouth-breathing fans, Marwick is a long-trusted observer of the Silicon Valley ‘scene.’ Readers are sure to love and loathe the details she provides of America’s newest version of a rock star:  the twenty-something social media entrepreneur, and they will appreciate her trenchant critique of ‘Web 2.0’: a term that Marwick argues marks both a moment that has passed, and a discourse that continues to structure what and how we think about social media use.”—Terri Senft, author of Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks
(Terri Senft 2013-02-26)

‘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 2014-04-24)

About the Author

Alice E. Marwick is assistant professor, communication and media studies, Fordham University, and the director of the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center. She lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (November 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300176724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300176728
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By fryjord on February 2, 2014
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.
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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
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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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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.
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