Although the Pokémon GO phenomenon of 2016 has waned, the economies of internet fame and content production remains robust. Drawing from their dissertation, Nick-Brie will discuss the forms of relational work and bonding that occur on YouTube and Twitter as well as Tumblr and Patreon, the latter two will be the focus of the talk. Drawing from two years of Internet ethnographic and participant observational work, Nick-Brie will be discussing the political economies and labor demands of micro-celebrity and Influencer culture across social media platforms regarding the Pokémon GO community. This talk suggests that the unpaid, affective labor done on Tumblr serves as a stepping stone to build relationships with one’s audience and fans before garnering support for additional, sustained income. From there, this talk argues that relational bondingwork on Patreon is sustained through the various creator-patron interactions and rewards-based system to foster a system of compensation through crowdfunding, yet precarious work under global neoliberal gig economies.
Nicholas-Brie (Nick-Brie) Guarriello joins CMS/W from the University of Minnesota where they are a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate. Their work focuses on audience and fans, Internet celebrity, and digital economies across social media platforms. Currently, their dissertation, titled “A Heart So True?: Relational Labor and Gig Economies in the Pokémon GO Fandom”, specifically focuses on the growth of creative workers within various forms of gig economies on social media platforms. They look at the inter-relations between YouTube and Twitter as well as Tumblr and Patreon to theorize what forms of work and labor are now the norm on specific platforms. Since the Pokémon fandom is understudied, they are trying to also think about the potential access gaps or colonial hauntings where some folks are sponsored by industries and partnered with social media platforms whereas others are continually exploited for their labor. Nick-Brie is also a competitive Pokémon Trading Card Game player and you can usually catch them at your local league or a regionals!