Clive Thompson wrote an engaging article in Wired that actually made me smile. It was very clever. His title was “Clive Thompson on the Age of Microcelebrity: Why Everyone’s a Little Brad Pitt.” The article is about a friend of his who is the executive committee chair of Technorati turned microcelebrity. Apparently when this fellow attends parties, he often finds pictures of himself on Flickr the next day. This fellow has a blog and knows that he has to watch out for his public image. Impression management, as they used to call it. Thompson discusses this new trend that describes his friend — “Microcelebrity is the phenomenon of being extremely well known not to millions but to a small group of a thousand people, or maybe a few dozen.” This is similar to what I call the reputationalization of society. Everyone has a reputation — some bigger and deeper than others — but we all have to watch out for the snapping flashbulbs and quotable soundbites.
Thompson, who interviewed me for a piece in Wired in 2007 and is fun to talk to, credits academic Theresa Senft with christening the term microcelebrity. As she says: “Corporations are getting humanized and humans are getting corporatized.” Or as I would say in my world, everyone is under the influence of reputationalization.