I Admit I Fell in Love With Kim…

My taste statement is surely what Hugo Liu would confirm as authentic if you check my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter because as an American male I proudly and openly like and follow many members of the Kardashian-Jenner-Disick-Odom family. That’s why I already know that millions of people around the world today will be wondering if Kim and Kanye are engaged due to the huge diamond pinky ring she rocked, pun intended, at a Christian Louboutin store yesterday. I know I am starting this blog post by asking for a few eye-rolls so in that case I may as well go as far as saying, one day Kendall and I are going to get married and I can add my name to the end of that growing list. Oh god I sound crazy… However, more on topic, the family’s social media presence, specifically Kim’s, is very interesting to analyze through the lenses of a Culture and Social Media Technology student. For starters, the family’s claim to fame developed from quite a bit of controversy, and I am not just referring to Kim’s 2007 sex tape with singer Ray J, but rather the fact that their father Robert Kardashian gained national recognition as the defense attorney of O.J. Simpson during the 1995 murder trial where he walked away scot-free after possibly murdering his x-wife. The marriage of mother Kris Kardashian to Olympian and businessman Bruce Jenner only further raised the family’s social status. Kim however was first brought to the social network scene as Paris Hilton’s new best friend after the heiress’ public falling out with Nicole Riche. I’m slightly embarrassed that I know all this without one Wikipedia search yet, but I guess that is the first bit of proof how present and active the family of socialites are. Together, her entire family’s social media networks have created what Alice Marwick would call a “web of power” in popular culture and on social media networks.

Kim displays a large social capital through her public display of connection when looking at her Facebook (11 million likes), Twitter (16.5 million followers) and Instagram (5 million followers) pages. Though the majority are only uni-directional ties she prides herself on the frequent amount of retweets (RT) she does back to her large fan base, constantly reminding everyone that she loves them too.

In order to accurately describe her taste statement it is important to take into consideration all three of her primary social media networks as listed above. Most notable are Kim’s strong ties with her entire family. Alomost half of the pages Kim openly like on her Facebook network are Kardashian-Jenner-Disick-Odom family members. The rest are a collection of brands and organizations that combined provide a “prestigious” image of a family-focused-fashionista-philanthropist. Though she may let people know that she occasionally enjoys drinking “Sun Drop” and eating at “Carl’s Jr.” it is clear that her Facebook page is far from authentic. Instead she likes her sponsors and the magazine publications she is frequently featured in as a strategic way of cross promoting her branded identity. Of the 180 accounts Kim follows on Twitter, the majority are actors, musicians, models, directors, stylists, business executives, writers and publications, all of which continue the Liu taste statement of prestige. The same can be said about the people she follows on Instagram, and out of her last 10 uploads, 7 were “selfies” showing her made up glamorously or relaxing casually with her international icon boyfriend/possibly fiancé, Kanye West. Her most recent upload receiving close to 40 thousand likes was an image using the social media platform to advertise “New Kardashian Kollection clutches” now being sold in the girl’s Dash retail store.

In her defense, though not making her social media networks much more authentic, when watching any of the family’s four E reality television shows, Kim is always being filmed using her smart phone to stay connected which was even the subject of two of the episodes. That leads the viewers to believe that when she does post, upload, tweet or retweet, they are actually coming from her rather than simply a paid publicist.

Aside from the Instagram selfies, her twitter exhibits other forms of restored behavior such as keeping up with trending hashtags and traditions like Throwback Thursdays. Kim also makes an effort to tweet about daily excitements like her adorable nephew, Mason, but even he is an icon with fan pages reaching close to 200 thousand likes. It’s clear by all the family tweets that Kim’s imagined audience for all of her social media networks must be primarily the viewers of the family’s reality shows. This is what Nancy Baym would refer to as Kim’s self-presentation strategy to attempt to appear more “real” even beyond her prestigious taste statement. It is further articulated through her sexy selfy’s body language, her speech pattern repetiton of “I love you”, “Xs and Os” and frequent exclamation punctuation. Backing up Baym, Alice Marwick would claim that because Kim’s fame is rooted in her connection to her family and friends, the primary purpose for many of her strong ties and posts are to “publicly articulate and map (her) relationships between people, organizations, and groups”. While still allowing her likes to also create a taste statement that define herself though the entertainment products she consumes and is involved with. Zizi Papacharissi might say that the short context Twitter platform is perfect for a celebrity like Kim because it is all to easy to keep up her self-presentation strategy with the constant repetition of the few representing grammar, syntax and conventions that make up her well-manicured image.

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2 comments

  1. I also wrote about Kim for this blog response because personally she is the first celebrity I think of when I think of social media. However, I stopped following her and her sisters a while back because they tweeted SO MUCH. I actually like watching the show and think some their tweets are funny but I really got sick of the constant marketing of their brand.This brings up the idea of authenticity. Personally I would probably be more inclined to buy their products if their twitter personas were more ” real” ( for example Nicole Richie used to do this well…not so much recently) than their current practice of constantly writing about their new nail polish, diet pill, book, tv show, clothing line ect. In this way I would feel that I had more of a connection with them ( like I do on the show- they seem very relatable on camera) and then I would probably think of a funny tweet and maybe reach for their Nicole nail polish over another brand.

    But honestly I wonder if we ever see an authentic version of Kim: whether that be on TV or online, it seems that no matter what, she is performing. Every action on a reality TV show is done with the knowledge that there is a camera ( despite claims that eventually you ” forget” about them) and social media identities are created through a similar self-reflection based lens. Then again Goffman writes that we are all performing and at celebrities admit and make a career out of this. So maybe our efforts at trying to see if any of her platforms are authentic are fruitless: everything must be theatrical with her and other celebrities because that’s as authentic as they get.

  2. I can totally relate to you. I am a huge follower of the Kardashian-Jenner-Disick-Odom family, although I don’t see myself marrying Kendall Jenner. Most of the celebrities I follow on Twitter are made up of this clan. I have to agree with you that her taste statements on her social media sites reflect the prestige taste statements Liu refers to in his article. She is mainly tweeting about and promoting projects of her family, which I appreciate when a picture is attached. It’s a look into the fascinating world of celebrity, which I particularly enjoy to watch. I will agree with the comment above that sometimes the promotions for herself and her brand seem a little overboard, but we have to cut Kim some slack. First and foremost, Kim is a brand. Banet-Weiser discusses the idea of self-branding in her piece, Branding The Post-Feminist Self: Girls’ Video Production and YouTube. Kim refers to herself as a television personality (aside from a reality star) and it is part of her job to make herself a commodity. It is clear her social media sites are self-consciously aimed at an audience or consumer for her products, whether it is her reality show, her clothing line, or new make-up line. It is also a requirement of hers to tweet about the products she’s associated with. On an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter on Own, Kim was candid with Oprah about her contractual obligations to tweet and talk about her products. So while it may seem excessive, she is being paid to tweet. Infusing pictures of her cute nephew mason, posting selfies and her choice of language do help make Kim seem more authentic and you are right about her defense… She is always on that phone in Keeping Up With The Kardashians!

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