Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster Our Fascination with Popular Culture

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Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster Our Fascination with Popular Culture Kelli S. Burns. New York: Praeger, 2009.

Kelli S. Burns' Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster our Fascination with Popular Culture chronicles the rise of social media and explores its "synergistic relationship" with popular culture (ix). The analysis of "celebrity" is central to only about half of the chapters, but is explored through multiple lenses - how existing celebrities use new media as promotion, how everyday people are made into celebrities through online participation and how audiences enhance and extend their connections with celebrities and other audience members through social media applications. The remainder of the book uses the illusion of intimacy inherent to celebrity as a lens through which to examine other relationships between popular culture and social media. By focusing on social media's ability to transform traditional connections between text, producer and audience, Burns illustrates the (at times uneasy) adaptation of other popular culture forms, such as television, movies and news media, to the world of social networking.

Burns' book is a useful primer for readers less familiar with the breadth of new media forms, including blogs, video-sharing sites, social networks, message boards, and social news site, and their uses. While this broad focus highlights important technological and social differences between these applications and their roles in popular culture, it also lends itself to a descriptive rather than analytic approach. She describes and defines each format in clear language with attention to both the production of these sites and some discussion of the audiences who engage with them. But readers more familiar with these media formats or scholars looking for an in-depth discussion of social uses and impacts of social media will find this broad overview and history less engaging. In particular, undergraduates and other readers steeped in social media culture would likely become bored with lengthy definitions of familiar forms like video mashups and music sharing sites. …