- Oct 2020
But, whereas engaged scholarship has a political imperative, academic microcelebrity has a market imperative. Academic microcelebrity is ostentatiously apolitical, albeit falsely so because markets are always political. Academic microcelebrity encourages brand building as opposed to consciousness-raising; brand awareness as opposed to co-creation of knowledge. It creates perverse incentives for impact as opposed to valuing social change. Microcelebrity is the economics of attention in which academics are being encouraged, mostly through normative pressure, to brand their academic knowledge for mass consumption. However, the risks and rewards of presenting oneself “to others over the Web using tools typically associated with celebrity promotion” (Barone 2009) are not the same for all academics in the neo-liberal “public” square of private media.
I'm reminded here of the huge number of academics who write/wrote for The Huffington Post for their "reach" despite the fact that they were generally writing for free. Non-academics were doing the same thing, but for the branding that doing so gave them.
In my opinion, both of these groups were cheated in that they were really building THP's brand over their own.