Celebrity as Cyborg
The celebrity is the ultimate form of cyborg. It exists on an Actor Network of technosocial connections attached to a system of production, reproduction and distribution. The celebrity consists of a series of perfect moments augmented by makeup, lighting, and video that are expanded to take up space and time in the minds of consumers. Like the impossible feast, the celebrity cannot be fully consumed, and the more times the viewer accesses the celebrity, the more their mental taste buds seek new celebrity data.
The celebrity is an example of the production of identity through technology. One's identity can be endlessly reproduced and distributed. One perfect moment can be stretched out over a long period of time. A classic pinup model can still grace one's bedroom wall today. The Actor Network that produces the celebrity is massive. Many celebrity networks are made up of many identity-producing agents, each having expertise in a specific area of identity production: hairstylists and producers, creative directors and billboard designers, agents, filmmakers and directors, advertisers and salespeople make up this network. The other part of the network is the viewer network, or fan network. The fans do not see the unprocessed human at any moment. Rather, they see the cybernetically-produced product formatted specifically for their consumptive pleasure. Because the audience never sees the "man behind the curtain", they are free to make the figure into a god of sorts. After all, the celebrity is not one person, but a compilation of multiple actors acting to produce a product.
The Internet allows one to take production of identity into one's own hands, meaning that digital celebrities can have more control over the actor network of specialists, because the actor network is actually robotic. The viewers choose who they want to see and also have control over distribution. This makes the digital celebrity not only a producer and distributor, hairstylist and advertiser, but the audience is a producer, distributor and advertiser as well. Those who own the backbone or tools for the production of value and distribution networks are the winners in this case. They no longer have to produce value, only provide a space for it to connect with each other, be viewed, amplify, and be distributed. The person has become, in essence, a famous machine.
Celebrities on social networks create a sense of intimacy in the digital space. One can almost feel like they are hanging out with a celebrity on Twitter or Facebook, a very novel turn of events in the general distance worship of celebrities.
- Sternheimer, Karen. Celebrity Culture and the American Dream. Celebrity, Social Networking, and Intimacy. Published 7 June 2011. Accessed 22 Sept 2012. http://celebritycultureandtheamericandream.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/celebrity-social-networking-and-intimacy/