Media@Sydney: The Exposure Economy Model: Visibility and digital practices on Instagram
This presentation will discuss new understandings of the contemporary online social media landscape, from “ecology” to “economy”.
To be seen on social media is a key concern for content creators, who have developed visibility practices to stand out in overcrowded online markets. ‘Exposure’, the state of being publicised to new audiences, has become increasingly valuable and is treated as a reward for those who utilise it as currency. This presentation will discuss recent findings from my PhD thesis, which shifts academic understandings of the social media landscape from ‘ecology’ to ‘economy’ frameworks. I offer a new model to view the network, participants, and practices involved in the production, consumption, and trade of exposure called ‘The Exposure Economy Model (TEEM). TEEM compares the operations of the Instagram platform and its users, influencers, and agencies, to respective stakeholders within financial supply chains, namely retail institutions, consumers, brand manufacturers and distributors. In this presentation, I will provide a broad overview of this framework by exploring all four stakeholders within TEEM, and touch on the social and cultural impacts the inflation of exposure has on our economy.
Brittany Ferdinands is part of the Media & Communications faculty at USYD as a tutor and researcher, having recently submitted her PhD thesis. Her research is on the social media economy, with a particular interest in monetising digital influence.