Being an online celebrity: Norms and expectations of YouTube’s beauty community
Keywords:online celebrity, digital cultures, YouTube
This paper is based on 22 months of online fieldwork examining YouTube’s beauty community, specifically the beauty guru Bubz, her uploaded content, and user comments. We aim to conceptualize central community-specific dynamics and practices, particularly those related to self-presentation and identity management and their affordances for legitimized online popularity. We explain how the guru’s successful online persona is based on a performative blend of relatable, down-to-earth values paired with a more aspirational and worthy of emulation side. Being an “ordinary-user-turned-famous” is seemingly an advantage given the high relevance of authenticity when judging online celebrities. However, her inherent ordinariness also increases expectations of trustworthiness and honesty, precisely because she is, and continuous to perform daily, a regular user.
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