When sharing your social life on social media becomes your profession…

Today I’d like to talk about the ethics of professional use of social media, but not in a sense you might automatically assume. I will discuss people that gain income through their social media and the downfalls of doing so with regards to negative reaction from the public. Some of the most popular celebrities right now, especially amongst younger people, are known through the online social presence. For example “YouTubers” and the “Instagram famous” can make millions from sharing their social life, making it their main occupation. Yet, through making their social life available to the world they are left with very limited privacy and reactions to content can leave internet celebrities in trouble.

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The 19 year old beauty vlogger, Marina Joyce, has an eccentric demeanour that drew attention to her making her go viral this year. Due to the way she acts in her videos and streams, viewers collectively sent out hundreds of thousands of tweets and contacted the police about potential drug abuse and other conspiracies. Due to this Marina and personal friends reacted in order to try and keep personal issues personal. A close friend, Karim Slimani, in anger tweeted “Someone’s PERSONAL LIFE AND PROBLEMS ARE NOT URS TO SHARE THIS ISN’T A F—ING TV SHOW”.

Zoella (Zoe Sugg) is one of YouTube’s biggest stars with over 10 million subscribers. She connects with fans using a wide range of social media platforms, one of which being Snapchat. What she thought was an innocent ‘Snapchat Story’ was thought to be inappropriate as her underwear exposed. As Zoe usually keeps a very respectable online profile this came as a shock to many fans and the story blew up in tabloid newspapers and on Twitter. As Zoe is in a relationship with another internet celebrity Alfie Days, they have claimed to feel “suffocated” with the lack of privacy they now have.

In my opinion, I feel that taking a career choice to be an internet celebrity denies a person much of their privacy because it is part of their job to expose their personal life for the entertainment of viewers. Obviously though, this should not be abused to the point where it is affecting the person creating content. This lack of privacy is rewarded though with a hefty salary, with Zoella earning around £50,000 (according to accounts obtained by The Sunday Times). This creates a question of whether it is worth sacrificing privacy for money.

Pewdiepie, the most subscribed YouTuber, has his say on the matter in a video below. (Warning of explicit language used during this video)

References

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/07/27/the-tortured-internet-undoing-of-youtuber-marina-joyce/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35888592/zoella-defends-snapchat-underwear-photo-after-body-shaming-criticism

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/zoella-ghostwriting-scandal-underwear-selfie-backlash-i-felt-suffocated-1593294

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/zoella-youtube-earnings-50000-sunday-times-alfie-deyes-a6928666.html

http://www.piktochart.com

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9 thoughts on “When sharing your social life on social media becomes your profession…

  1. Hi Chris,

    Your post stood out to me because you’ve clearly taken a unique approach to topic 4, and one which is particularly relevant in the current online climate. Your graphic was especially eye-catching, as it’s unusual these days for someone our age not to recognise Zoella in particular, and I think this is a great way of drawing attention to your post.

    You make an excellent point about the privacy of these young online personalities, as there are countless cases of fans not knowing where to draw the line between the lives that online celebrities choose to share and their own private lives. This, I feel, is a a relatively new development, as it is so easy to know so much about these people that it almost de-humanises them and turns them into some sort of character, leading people to forget that they have a life of their own.

    Casey Neistat recently sold his company to CNN and almost all of the media coverage surrounding the story concerns how much money he personally stands to gain from the sale, which isn’t something you’d expect were a serial entrepreneur to make a similar sale. I completely agree that living in the public online sphere puts you at risk of sacrificing your privacy. Do you think there’s any way for these individuals to avoid this experience, or is it too early to tell given how relatively new this style of ‘celebrity’ is?

    I really liked the style of your blog but I’d suggest that you could save space and words by not duplicating the text that you included in your graphic, as you subsequently transcribed it and only added a small amount of extra information about Zoella. Other than that a very well structured, well-written and enjoyable post!

    Like

  2. Hi Chris,

    I was drawn to you blog by the picture of Zoella, as I actually am one of her subscribers (not a fan though!). Since I do watch YouTube videos on a daily basis, I could really relate to your thinking regarding this issue raised.

    I very much agree with your idea that these YouTubers are examples of a new type of celebrities. In fact, I think young people look up to them because they once were normal people no different from you and me – they didn’t need to have the looks of Angelina Jolie or Ryan Gosling, or the bodies of Victoria Secret Angels to gain all the recognition they had and to be successful.

    However, it seems to have become a common trend that everyone well known or famous has no privacy whatsoever and has to be judged by the public, in whatever they do or who ever they date. I guess people have failed to recognised the fact that despite of being celebrities, they too, are no different from you and I, we all are prone to making mistakes and that is how we learn.

    With that said, do you think there is any way where education may help to moderate this problem?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Hei Lam

    Like

  3. Hi Chris,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post and was drawn to its unique layout. Your use of piktochart and youtube videos is very effective and exemplifies the point you are trying to make throughout. The topic you discuss of privacy for online entrepreneurs is very relevant in today’s society and a different take on Topic 4 which gave me a new perspective on the topic.

    Relating to PewPewDie’s situation, I agree that taking a career choice does in fact deny you any chance of having a personal life shown in his mini PSA begging fans to stop showing up at his house. This makes us wonder if it’s possible for anyone in the limelight to avoid the sour experience of not having a private life; do you think this could be possible?
    This post was very well structured; the images and examples you used made the post engaging and one I couldn’t miss. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks,
    Melak

    Like

  4. Hey Chris,

    Great post. It’s interesting the lengths that youtubers must take to protect their privacy – you would expect people just to respect this, but evidently not.

    It could be argued however that by putting their lives in the public realm, they have inflicted this upon themselves, and should be aware of the implications. As Zuccherberg says “Privacy is no longer a social norm”. We are all aware that we need to be careful about what we post, particularly those whose lives exist in the public realm. Whilst it is unethical for their lives to be encroached upon in this manner, they also have a role to fulfil through their status. Zoella in particular is a youtuber who is viewed as a role model, as discussed in this article https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-first-impression/201310/being-role-model-isn-t-always-choice , so must be especially diligent about what she posts. Do you think it’s true that youtubers are inadvertently posed as role models, and is this fair on them?

    Like

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