The Age of Microcelebrity
December 30th, 2007

WIRED MAGAZINE: ISSUE 15.12 Why Everyone’s a Little Brad Pitt

Clive Thomson: Microcelebrity is the phenomenon of being extremely well known not to millions but to a small group.

Geoffrey Grosenbach, a programmer in Seattle, wrote a Twitter post about a new office chair he got — then discovered people in Australia chatting about his purchase. Afriend of mine learned that her microfans had formed a Yahoo group (with 125 members!) to discuss her blog. I’ve been touched by this trend, too: I once stumbled upon a discussion-board thread arguing over whether it’s healthy for me to have a nanny look after my son during work hours — a personal detail I had revealed online.

Some of the newly microfamous aren’t very happy about all the attention. Blog pioneer Dave Winer has found his idle industry-conference chitchat so frequently live-blogged that he now feels “like a presi-dential candidate” and worries about making off-the-cuff remarks. Some pundits fret that microcelebrity will soon force everyone to write blog posts and even talk in the bland, focus-grouped cadences of Hillary Clinton (minus the cackle).

But I think these gloomy predictions are probably wrong. The truth is that people are developing interesting social skills to adapt to microfame. We’re learning how to live in front of a crowd.

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