chapter  8
16 Pages

“Honestly, you just have to be famous!”

Parody and the art of identity authentication in Singapore’s social media influencer culture
ByJ. Patrick Williams, Athena Ming Gui Khoo

“Influencers” are social media users who create digital cultural content, cultivate followers through social media accounts, and monetize their social media identities through financial relationships with commercial and culture industries. Influencers collaborate and compete with one another for the attention of other social media users, whose views, likes, and subscriptions translate into financial remuneration. There is wide variation in how social media influence is practiced and understood, and thus “influencer” has quickly become a contentious concept and identity category. In this chapter, we look at how content creators manage the influencer identity through videos that highlight salient but problematic characteristics of the identity. Focusing on a single parody video produced by a Singaporean content creator, we investigate how the deployment of a character foil works to portray contrastive typifications of the influencer identity.