Tag Archives: Internet fame

On Performative Internet Memes: Planking, Owling, & Stocking

 

The author, planking

The author engaging in an activity that might be considered "planking." Circa 2009

In the Spring semester of my third year of college I had a stats class that really took the life out of me. One day I elected to take a brief nap in a dorm lounge. The picture above was taken shortly after I laid down, and subsequently posted on Facebook. Out of context, it appears as though I am planking- an internet meme in which individuals are photographed intentionally laying face-down in strange places. It has popped in an out of the global media for almost a decade but resurfaced over this summer into a world-wide activity. It has since inspired similar activities including owlingBatmanning, and stocking. I will refer to the entire trend collectively as “performative memes.” Unlike Anthropology Major Fox or lolcatz, these memes are about performing a certain embodied act, not producing an image for visual consumption. All around the world, friends are taking pictures of each other doing strange stunts and posting them on the internet. What exactly are we doing -socially- when we engage in performative internet memes?

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Alice Marwick on Internet Fame

Here’s an interesting interview with Alice Marwick about how the “long tail” of the Internet the has reconstituted fame as a localized or “micro” phenomenon.

Contrary to the point made by Marwick, I think the important question is not whether will we get fifteen minutes of fame nor whether we will be famous to fifteen people, but whether we can have (or even desire) fifteen minutes of privacy.