Podcast: Nick-Brie Guarriello, “The Good Stuff”: The Intersections of Work, Leisure, and Relational Bonding on Tumblr and Patreon

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!

Rachel Thompson

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology and Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Her honors thesis explored literature’s evolving role in the digital age through an ethnographic study of an online literary magazine. She also co-founded and directed the Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Reform, a network of eight volunteer groups that tutor in prisons across Massachusetts and work on advocacy initiatives relating to mass incarceration and education. Before joining CMS, Rachel worked in Boston-area art museums — the Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Essex Museum — with a focus on developing teaching curriculum for makerspaces as well as integrated digital media experiences for visitors. At MIT Rachel is interested in interrogating the ethics of American incarceration media, from made-in-prison podcasts to exploitative reality television. She works as a Research Assistant in the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab under the direction of Lisa Parks. Extracurricularly, Rachel has a passion for retrieving the past; in her spare time, she works on restoring film cameras and mid-century modern furniture and really just wants to talk to someone about The Twilight Zone.

 
 

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