Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians knows that Kim is always on her phone. And as the center of the most over-exposed family on American TV, it makes sense. She has a Myspace page, a Facebook, a blog, a pinterest, a Twitter and an Instagram that all provide a constant feed of her daily activities as well as promoting her many products, brands, and TV shows. It should be noted that her Myspace is pretty inactive–it is linked to her non-existent music career in which she recorded one song. Therefore, I will be focusing on her Facebook, blog, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Her Facebook fan page has over 11 million likes (21 of which are, sadly, my friends) and 435,030 people are talking about her on Facebook. Her “about me” section has her birthday and links for her blog and Twitter. Currently the cover photo is an advertisement for the Kardashian Kollection that is being sold at Dorothy Perkins as of November 8, 2012. Her profile picture is a black and white headshot. It appears that her Facebook’s main goal is to link her recent posts on her blog and Pinterest. It is very likely that she does not write most of the posts as they are all geared directly towards brand promotion and therefore anyone on her team could easily write them. For example the last 5 posts were:
About her Loungewear Collection
A break down of her recent outfit
Her Christmas nail polish colors
2 Instagram Photos
A “flashback” moment of an episode from 2008
Her pinterest, shares photos of her and current popular trends such as oxblood clothes and nail art photographs. This blog, her Facebook and her Pinterest therefore seem to align themselves with the prestige taste statement as identified by Liu: they are concerned with showing the best side of Kim. Her Facebook page is updated in a timely manner (3-4 times a day), her “about me” is very professional and she likes all of her family’s fan pages as well as those of her brands/the stores where her brands are sold. She is pinning trendy products on her page to show that she is up to date with current trends not only by liking them but also by showing her outfits that correspond with these trends. The nature of these sites, as noted by Marwick, forces people to describe themselves as consumers: on Facebook and Pinterest you “like” or “pin” certain products, people, tv shows ect.. Kim is in and of herself a product: a consumer and something to be consumed. These sites are geared towards marketing her brands and lifestyle. Since she is being shown in a coherent, prestige manner, it is unlikely to find any inappropriate or controversial pictures or statements on any of these platforms. Marwick and boyd discuss context collapse and while Kim is clearly not concerned with her different audiences (family members, friends, fans) being collapsed into one (she became famous from a sex tape after all) she, and her marketing team, employ one of the techniques in fighting context collapse that Marwick and boyd discuss: appealing to your lowest common denominator. In Kim’s case this would probably be her young fans that frequent these sites, therefore she is filtered to them in an easy, fun and appropriate manner.
Her Twitter and Instagram accounts on the other hand seem to be actually updated by her as she constantly posts selfies. These accounts are more concerned with authenticity—while she promotes her products, she also asks her fans questions, and has had some controversial moments on these sites. At this moment (October 20 at 5pm) she has 13,407 tweets and has tweeted 6 times in the past 24 hours. She has over 16,000,000 followers and follows 179 people: mostly celebrities, brands, fan sites and inspirational quote accounts. While she links her blog and clearly promotes her brand, she will also randomly tweet things (for example: sour cream & onion chips are the best) and talk about her workouts. In this way she is trying to seem more relatable. Her Instagram account is dominated by selfies taken in the mirror or by turning her phone and extending her arm (or when using her iphone, just filliping the camera). She also takes pictures of her food, her with her sisters/ other celebrities, and her clothes/ shoes. She recently got a kitten so she has been making many appearances as well. While none of these pictures are X-rated, they are more revealing than those found on her Facebook or Pinterest. She also seems less concerned about showing herself in a serious light: she has many funny photographs and will show herself out at clubs drinking. Instagram success is based on constant, authentic updates: people really only post pictures of what they are doing or seeing in the moment whereas Facebook is more choreographed social media in that it is less reliant on in-the-moment experiences. Your profile is always there and people can navigate many aspects of it (photographs, status updates, wall posts) and find lots of information even if you haven’t been on recently. Twitter and instagram are viewed as a feed and if someone isn’t coming up on your feed you are less likely to go directly to their profile as you would with Facebook.
Another reason Twitter shows a more authentic side of Kim is the fact that she has been in many twitter wars. In an article from earlier this year Kim was quoted as saying
“When people are so stupid, you just have to have fun with it. Someone [without a profile photo] will say I’m fat, or a hairy Armenian, and I’ll write back, ‘Oh, that egg picture of yours is so gorgeous.’”
She has also been in fights with her sister Kourtney’s boyfriend Scott, as well as Demi Moore, and her publicist. However, all these fights boil down to her trying to protect herself and her family so despite the drama it seems that she is trying to show herself as a real person who cares about her family and despite exposing herself, will not tolerate insults.
Overall Kim has efficiently marketed herself on these platforms. She has a strong presence online and her constant sharing is just an extension of her TV show: she has become famous by letting people into the most intimate aspects of her life, therefore it only seems fair that she does so on all these sites. People care what she is eating, what lipstick she is using and her love life. Having amassed many haters she also uses these platforms to directly address them and as she continues to make less than ideal choices ( spending millions on a marriage that ends 72 days later) she is going to need to use these platforms and identity creation techniques more and more to maintain her fan base.
On a side note: My favorite (theatrical) twitter account at the moment is this hilarious mix of tweets from Kim and Kierkegaard.