“You Need At Least One Picture Daily, if Not, You’re Dead”: Content Creators and Platform Evolution in the Social Media Ecology

Arturo Arriagada, Francisco Ibáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite extensive literature on content creators’ identities, strategies, and activities, there remains a gap in understanding how the constantly changing platform environment impacts their brand subjectivities. Against this backdrop, our article explores how evolutions in platforms—including constant updates to their affordances—shape the activities and interpretive processes of content creators. Drawing on interviews with 35 Chilean content creators in the field of fashion and lifestyle, along with an analysis of their Instagram images (N = 165) and stories (N = 150), we show how creators feel compelled to enact different versions of their brand subjectivities. Our findings show how creators experience platform changes based on three interrelated levels: in the form of communicative styles, as a sense of temporal acceleration, and as a constant negotiation with other actors in the social network through which commercial activities are configured. Thus, when platforms tend to make changes to improve their commercial viability, content creators have to adapt their brand subjectivities and practices across platforms and affordances. In addition to shedding light on the new routines and intensified economic pressures demanded of today’s digital workers, we also reveal how the ideal of creation has been supplanted with intensified competition amid constantly changing technological, social, and commercial ecologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Media and Society
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • cultural production
  • platformization
  • self-branding
  • social media
  • visibility

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