In the ever-expanding world of social-media, it’s common for the average Internet user to get caught up in all the hype, and understandably so. Within the last few years, we’ve seen quite an interesting trend take place: common people have garnered both fame and success via social-media platforms. Such examples range from Youtube personalities like Jenna Marbles and Chris Crocker, to Twitter aficionados, such as Kris Sanchez (UberFacts Creator). Let’s face it, we all enjoying reading and viewing this content, or as Sanchez puts it: “The most unimportant things you’ll never need to know.”
In the article titled “Become A Social Media Rock Star In Four Easy Steps” author, Christine Comaford, helps us understand how to become a successful social-media user. Comaford’s first and foremost idea is that “valuable” and “timely content” equates to social-media success. In her article, she breaks down how to create such content by listing four steps. These range from “Step 1: Curate From The Best,” which essentially means that users should be consistent with their content and garner it from the most prestigious/respected sources, to “Create and Synthesize Content,” otherwise known as producing original work and/or ideas. Comaford closes out the article by conveying how taking the time to develop a polished social-media life can ultimately lead to many benefits, such as expanding both your professional and personal networks.
While reading through this article I couldn’t help but think of Hugo Liu’s work based on the idea of taste performances. In his article “Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances,” Liu delves into the idea of identity, and how it has changed drastically. According to Liu, “up through the 19th century in European society, identity was largely determined by a handful of circumstances such as profession, social class, and church membership” (Liu 252). This all changed in the late 20th century, however, as consumer culture came into play. Identity is now based on the idea that “one is what one eats: or rather one is what one consumes – books, music, movies, and a plenitude of other cultural materials” (Liu 252). Liu states how “the newest stage for online textual performance of self is the Social network Profile (SNP) (Liu 253). In order to discern this now correlation between taste and identity, Liu conducted a study based around Myspace profiles.
Many of Liu’s finding coincide with the views presented by Comaford. The first of these is the idea that MySpace users tried to convey prestige through their tastes and interests, which relates to Comaford’s step titled “Curate From The Best.” Liu explains how conveying prestige through listing interests, such as The Clash, The Ramones, and The Smiths, creates a positive and coherent image. Comaford would likely agree with this, as she believes social media users who are trying to garner respect must “select a subject” he or she is passionate about, such as music, for example, and make sure to tune “in to the most informed sources and coalesce the best of the best” (Comaford). By cataloging interests like the ones listed above, users create the image that they are aware of content that is of cultural and/or societal importance.
Liu’s next finding shows how users often “seemed interested in expressing how utterly unique and diverse he or she was” (Liu 263). Essentially, this means that while pleasing their general audience users must throw in some obscure interest or hobby once in a while, in order to appear distinct. Comaford’s third step, “Create and Synthesize Content,” directly relates to this, as it conveys how social media users must “progress from curating other people’s content” or listing generally appreciated and respected content (such as The Ramones), to posting original material. Doing this will not only make users seem unique and knowledgable, but may even lead to new connections.
Having this ability to create connections through social-media relates to the work of Ellison, Vitak, Gray, and Lampe. In their article “Cultivating Social Resources,” the authors state how “research has documented a relationship between use of the SNS Facebook and increased levels of social capital, a form of capital that describes resources embedded in social relationships and interactions within a network” (Ellison 3). Social capital is often separated into “bridging” and “bonding,” which “describe resources embedded in” ties or relationships (Ellison 3). According to the authors, “weaker ties (such as a friend of a friend) are more likely to be bridging ties and thus provide access to novel information (Granovetter, 1973) and diverse perspectives (associated with bridging capital), which are less available from close relationships due to homophily” (Ellison 5). Comaford’s closing statements convey nearly identical thinking, as she believes quality social media profiles can lead to “amazing” professional benefits. She provides a quote from scholar David Weinberger who strongly believes “the smartest person in the room is the room” and furthers this argument by stating how “social media expands the size and scope of your room” (Comaford). This is greatly exemplified in the post “Social Ties and Employment: Best Friends or Acquaintances?” as it shows how Twitter made it possible for a consistent and coherent user to make connections with Sir Richard Branson, which ultimately led to professional success.
Through creating a list of four steps, Christine Comaford’s article is concise, clever, and easy to understand for those social media users who want to take their content to the next level, or perhaps even Internet stardom. As noted above, her article effectively displays how in order to achieve a successful and insightful social media profile, users must make sure they produce coherent, useful, and unique material. Looking at her work as a whole, I have to commend Comaford, as many of the viewpoints align with the findings of the scholars who work in this field. I believe this is a testament to how effective her article could actually be, if followed step by step.