“Imagining others more complexly”: Celebrity and the ideology of fame among YouTube’s ‘Nerdfighteria’

Smith, Daniel R. (2016) “Imagining others more complexly”: Celebrity and the ideology of fame among YouTube’s ‘Nerdfighteria’. Celebrity Studies, 7 (3). pp. 339-353. ISSN 1939-2400

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2015.1132174


YouTube has witnessed the growth of a celebrity culture of its own. This article explores the celebritification of online video-bloggers in relation to their own discursive community. Focusing on the VlogBrothers (John and Hank Green) and their community ‘Nerdfighters’, this article demonstrates how their philosophy of “Imagining Others More Complexly” (IOMC) is used to debate ‘celebrity’ and its legitimacy. Their vision of celebrity is egalitarian and democratic, rooted in Western culture’s ‘expressive turn’ (Taylor, 1989). It views each person as a unique individual and others as equal, legitimate subjects. Situating this discursive formation within the culture of web 2.0’s neo-liberal developments, the article seeks to explore the contradictory origins and uses to which IOMC is directed. While utilised to promote a vision of vloggers beyond the gaze and mystification of ‘celebrity’, it is also drawn upon by celebrities to manage and control perception and preserve good public opinion amongst the community. The article concludes with a discussion of how this philosophy may conceive of ‘celebrity’ as a model of expressive individualism beyond its commercial uses. ‘IOMC’ may be considered a state of ‘selfhood’ which allows each person equal space to consummate a unique vision of themselves.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: YouTube, Vlogs, VlogBrothers
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Daniel R. Smith
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2016 15:45
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 11:15
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/700922

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