MMTC Research Fellow Crystal Abidin in partnership with Regional Transformation to AAA project gives a series of practitioner’s seminars and workshops in Jönköping.

Dr. Abidin who is a Research fellow at JIBS, Deakin University and Curtin University have recently completed a series of practitioner’s seminars for the local businesses around the Jönköping area. Please read more details about each talk below

“How to Engage with the Influencer Industry.” (19 February 2019)

Many young people are now vocationally pursuing celebrity on the internet as commercial, cross-platform, and highly relatable Influencers. Influencers are raking in millions of dollars, working with blue chip companies, establishing their own brands, and even effecting change in legal, economic, and social regulation in various societies. In fact, the communication formats of Influencers are so innovative that ailing legacy media formats are learning to brandjack their vernacular participatory cultures to appeal to young audiences. But how did they get here, and how can businesses meaningfully engage with the Influencer industry?

Drawing on traditional and digital anthropological research on internet celebrity since 2010 across the Asia Pacific and recent projects in Europe and the US, in this talk she reviewed a brief history of internet celebrities to understand how Influencers have emerged in the last decade. She explored how attention and money are generated and circulated in the Influencer ecologies and talked about the highly creative strategies encultured by Influencers to capture viewer attention in the increasingly saturated market.

Portions of this talk were based on Crystal’s books Internet Fame: Understanding Celebrity Online (2018, Emerald Publishing), and Microcelebrity Around the Globe: Approaches to Cultures of Internet Fame (2019, Emerald Publishing, co-edited with Megan Lindsay Brown).

“What Swedish companies can learn from how entrepreneurs in East Asia use Instagram and Streaming Apps.” (26 February 2019).

Looking closely at online advertorials, personal endorsements, and knock-off material cultures as facilitated by young internet users, in this talk Crystal presented brief summaries on how young entrepreneurs in East Asia have been using Instagram and Streaming Apps for their businesses. These include recently popular platforms such as, Tudou, BeLive, and Bigo, that are widely used around Asia.

She talked about the different platform architectures that have enabled commercial activity, cultures of interpersonal exchange and self-branding among various subcultures, and the resultant implications on the brick-and-mortar shopping industry.

More importantly, she reviewed how some of these strategies can be applied in the Swedish context and discussed some cultural norms that young internet users in Scandinavia value, based on pilot studies conducted in Denmark and Sweden.

“Using Internet Paralanguages.” (05 March 2019)

As new platforms and technologies emerge, young people are inventing innovative ways to express ideas and communicate with their peers using mixed media on the internet. Most prominently, internet paralanguages that draw on non-lexical visual cultures are flourishing in mainstream, subcultural, and countercultural internet communities.

They have been used to communicative sensitive information across networks under the radar of authoritarian censors during global social movements and situated to demonstrate different coded meanings for different audiences by prominent internet users such as Influencers. In this lecture and workshop, participants explored some of these internet paralanguages, how they have been deployed by various brands in Scandinavia and Europe and drew from their personal experiences of these communicative symbols.

Through brief case studies, the session demonstrated how we can systematically track and understand the emergence of internet paralanguages through ethnographic methods, and how organizations may like to employ some of these internet-native communication strategies to reach their target audience. In the workshop that followed, participants were invited to brainstorm innovative uses of internet paralanguages to promote various causes and initiatives for their businesses.