The Naomi Fry treatment on Cameo is so good, if not just for the parallel drawn between an app that lets celebs charge for minutes-long increments of their persona vs. the traditional journalistic interview process, itself a Rumpelstiltskinean spinning of famous people’s time into value; but also for one extremely eyeball-widening quote that High Maintenance’s Ben Sinclair drops midway through:
One day, we won’t even need any social media, because they’ll just be able to brand actual, real-life engagement between human beings.
You just gotta laugh ‘cause we all know it’s true!!!!!!
There’s also great analysis on what sets Cameo influencer culture apart from what you see on other social platforms:
The pandemic, in a sense, has only accelerated a process that was already in motion. On apps like Instagram and Twitter, celebrities have always acted as laborers in an atomized, precarious economy, exchanging nuggets of seeming love and attention for money. That exchange, though, is circuitous. You might stream a new single by an artist who posts a picture of herself at the beach, or buy the sweatshirt she poses in and tags, but use of the platform remains free, so our sense of “celebrity influence” hovers fuzzily, eliding the monetary and highlighting the social. Cameo strips away the illusion: celebrity content is always a product.
Anyway, if thinking about the commodification of human interaction happens to be your jam today, might I also recommend the iconic New Yorker piece on Japan's Rent-a-Family Industry from Elif Batuman? It’s been like 2.5 years since this piece came out and I’m like, still rewiring my brain in its aftermath…
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