Crystal Abidin

Crystal's research focuses on influencers and internet celebrity culture in Sweden, Australia, Singapore, and East Asia. Her current projects investigate self-branding, vernacular Internet cultures, and social media commerce. She received her PhD in Social Sciences from University of Western Australia. As well as being affiliated with MMTC, Crystal is a Senior Research Fellow & DECRA Fellow at Curtin University. 

Portrait of Crystal Abidin

Dr Crystal Abidin is an Affiliate Researcher at MMTC and a Senior Research Fellow in Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, where she currently lives. She is a digital anthropologist and ethnographer who studies internet culture, and her academic training is Anthropology & Sociology, Media & Communications. She has also extensively consulted and worked for the media industries.

Crystal has been visiting JIBS & MMTC annually since 2014, first as a Visiting Scholar in 2014, then Visiting Doctoral Student in 2015, then Visiting Scholar in 2016, and finally as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow between 2017 and 2019.

She studies young people's internet cultures, focusing especially on how they use social media to cultivate celebrity and entrepreneurship practices, foster networks for working through vulnerability, and grow communities for informal education especially relating to sex, sexuality, and minoritarian values.

Crystal is working on several projects at the moment, with the primary ones being 'Social Media Influencers as Conduits of Knowledge in Australia and Asia' and 'Decoding the Weaponizing of Pop Culture on WhatsApp in Singapore and Malaysia'. She is also writing up her data from a recently completed project, 'Social media Influencers in Swedish and Scandinavian fashion retail', which was an individual grant hosted at the MMTC and funded by Handelsrådets in Sweden.

Crystal is very positive about research collaborations and while she is continuing her research on the Nordic Influencer industry remotely, she would love the opportunity to physically return to Scandinavia to conduct follow-up fieldwork and collaborate with colleagues in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden once again. Her research is particularly relevant in today’s everchanging society because it privileges the vernacular knowledge and voices of young people, especially in the Asia Pacific, to understand how they are spearheading models of communicating effectively in digital terrains in a media climate that is saturated with white noise. She sees MMTC's focus on digitalization, sustainability, and globalization as especially crucial for enabling businesses to remain relevant, to instill and uphold corporate ethics, and to expand research and industry collaborations in the Nordic and beyond.

Find more information about Crystal’s research and other projects here: