Painting the World #RED

I’ve always been a fan of Taylor Swift. I remember roaming on her Myspace page listening to her songs and envying her myspace profile background. Until recently Myspace seemed to be the only social networking site that Taylor Swift was on, and that allowed her some room to show her personality, and not just another website dedicated to her promotions. Now many celebrities have branched out to use other social networking sites that have been made available. On websites online such as her YouTube page, her site TaylorSwift.com, her performances are more likely to be crafted by her public relations people. On her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page, she is more likely to self-promote, but also include more personal tidbits of her life, that are assumed to be crafted by herself and not her team. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram she is afforded more intimacy with her followers.

Mitchell and Weber in Imaging, Keyboarding, and Posting Identities: Young People and New Media Technologies, explain that youth media users are “prosumers” a mix of producers and consumers. Taylor Swift is more a producer than a consumer, because she is a celebrity. On all her sites, she has a home profile of her sites, Twitter, and Facebook being the most widely used. Just by clicking Taylor’s likes on her Facebook, it tells me that she over 35 million likes and the most popular with the age group that is between 18-24 years old.Through all her sites there are not many of her opinions or personal information, and her circle of friends is not evident except in her twitter mentions with other celebrities. Her likes on her Facebook page are companies that she has a connection with such as CoverGirl (she has a contract with the company). Taylor’s profile is filed with promotions of her latest album Red, and this is true of all her sites. She is also the same identity throughout her sites and she makes no attempt to “try on identities.” There is convergence between her sites, meaning that the same information about her new album, her cat Meredith or her appearances on stage and on TV flow, from site to site.

Hugo Liu claims in her article Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances, that our taste communicates who we are and where we fit in the social world, where Taylor Swift fits as her promotion of self. Liu claims that social networking sites are non professional sites, which I think is different wen it comes to celebrities. When celebrities use social networking sites they become professional branding platforms. This is especially true of her Youtube and Facebook pages where she is less likely to express herself personally, whereas Twitter and Instagram encourage more personal posts, otherwise she would not have more than 20 million followers on Twitter. Taylor Swift’s taste performance conveys an authenticity taste statement. Her Myspace and Facebook about me sections is written like a letter to the fans, where she talks about personal aspects of her life. In her about me sections what is projected is a relaxed and real feeling to her words, and not just a biography done by wikipedia or people that work for her. It is important that her taste statement conveys authenticity to connect to her fans, and convey a pop/country persona. This is also done to differentiate herself as authentic among many fake profiles that claim to be Taylor Swift. Her authenticity is also seen in the verification she has on her Twitter page, and the links to all her real accounts that are on her Taylor Swift official site. Based on her Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube profiles we can judge that her daily activities consists of musical performances, TV appearances, traveling and time her family and cat Meredith.

Marwick and Boyd in “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience” note the techniques and difficulties that come across creating an identity online, knowing ones audience and preventing context collapse..For celebrities it is impossible for them to know their audience because they have millions of followers. I would say that Taylor’s imaged audience consist of her fans and other celebrities. Her quoted retweets of her fans, retweets of her celebrity friends and TV personalities reflect that.  

All her tweets are directed to the same imagined audience, suggesting that there is no change in her identity on any of her social media platforms. It is advantageous from her standpoint that she can reach many different audiences, of the same kind of people, because she has many different social media sites that might not al have the same followers. Her use on these sites are much like the practices of micro-celebrity, but on a larger scale because she actually is a celebrity and the purpose of her being on social networking sites to promote her brand. On her platforms she “obtains and maintains attention,” this is seen in the number of retweets, mentions, followers and likes she gets. Taylor’s context collapse is definitely on a larger scale because her profiles are public, there are no posts that would offend any part of her audience and she doesn’t have to use strategies to prevent context collapse, other than not revealing private information, since most celebrities like to keep their private life private. The only time that this does happen is because of paparazzi and “insiders” who know such information. Taylor, (pun intended) tailors her tweets to let us into her world and to give fans a backstage view into her life with “behind-the-scenes” videos.

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2 comments

  1. Your post actually made me start thinking about Taylor Swift’s media presence a lot differently. I was an avid fan when T. Swift released her first album and made her debut in the world, and I followed a lot of her networks. She started gaining fame fast, but something I noticed was that whether it was interviews, performances, etc., she always liked getting personal with her fans. She had this modest gratitude and aura about her where she would press on the fact that her fans mean so much to her. I don’t doubt that she is being sincere, but your post made me take a second to think about how you are so right; in the end she is selling herself, and she does not know most of the people she directs conversation to. I really liked how you delved into the concept of the imagined audience. When I was doing my post on Bieber, it was my automatic response to think that he always knew exactly who his audience was, and catered his statements to his audience. However, I agree with you in the statement these celebrities are always directing everything to an imagined audience, and only say something that is inclusive of all their different audiences. What Taylor Swift says to a best friend from childhood will be significantly different from a reply tweet she posts to some random girl in Arkansas.
    We discuss authenticity a lot in class, and, although we say that the “real” profiles of these celebrities have a taste statement that is authentic, I start to question that. They can’t be authentic when they are trying to keep their fan base and stay famous. These artists need to maintain their status, and won’t jeopardize that. They won’t say something that they want to if they know it will have a negative impact on certain people.

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/the-7-best-and-worst-celebrity-twitter-accounts/
    An article I came across that applies to this discussion. It’s interesting to read about her analyses of these Twitter accounts

  2. It’s great that you made the observation that Taylor Swift never openly talks about her public life, who her friends are or who she writes her songs about, on her social media sites at all. I never really thought about whether that changes her taste statement at all from authentic. However, if you follower her in to the extent that you don’t just see tweets about an upcoming interview but actually turn on the TV to watch, she explains her reasoning. Two weeks ago on Katie Couric I saw my first Interview Taylor gave and she is by far the most down-to-earth celebrity and performer I have ever seen. As Couric says, “she’s talented, bright, driven and very sweet”. Therefore I am so glad you acknowledged that by confirming her authenticity, but your post got me thinking about an interesting question. Is it possible that someone such as Taylor who is constantly in the public eye can have an authentic taste statement due to what we have experienced from her outside of Social Networks, even if her performance online is somewhat manicured and prestigious? In the interview Taylor says that she loves writing songs, performing, and never wants to stop, but as soon as her fans get sick of her she doesn’t just want to stay in the public eye for just the fame and fortune. She wants to take her talents elsewhere and assist rising stars. I truly believed her humbleness and so I completely agree that her imagined audience is simply her fans. She writes her songs for herself as a sort of therapeutic release of the stresses and heartbreaks in her life but she performs and interacts online for her fans. Going off of this, I can guarantee you that Taylor will never experience context collapse due to the way she manages her online presence. She is one of the only celebrities I follow on twitter and Facebook who I would absolutely be thrilled to meet in person and get to know better.

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