In Digital Fame and Fortune in the age of Social Media, Gomez suggests unified terms to clarify the range of social media fame from traditional celebrities to social media influencers by conducting a review of current literature.
Gomez’s argument begins with some historical context about what it means to be famous, and argues that fame is either ascribed, achieved or attributed. Gomez argues that traditional celebrities, like movie and TV stars, typically rely on viewership and size of broadcast, however new social media celebrities provide the content and the audience, which changes the trend greatly. Gomez also argues that social media influencers, YouTubers, vloggers, and Instafamous, have the ability to shape the attitude of the audience members in a new light, and often become a “brand” themselves. Gomez presents a breakdown of different types of influencers based off of the size of their followings, breaking them down into micro influencers, macro influencers and mega influencers. At the end of the paper, Gomez emphasizes that it is in the best interest of scholars and practitioners to have the same nomenclature for celebrities in order to understand what they are and to be able to differentiate the goals behind each type.
After reading this article, I have a new understanding of the differences between types of celebrities and internet influencers. One thing that I thought about while reading the article is where TikTok stars would fit into this breakdown, for TikTok became a huge trend right around the time this article was published. At their most basic level, they are probably considered micro influencers, however since they have gained such a following and even have brand deals and other celebrity perks, would they actually be mega influencers?