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(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You LoveGender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work$
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Brooke Erin Duffy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300218176

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300218176.001.0001

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Aspirational Labor’s (In)Visibility

Aspirational Labor’s (In)Visibility

(p.216) 7 Aspirational Labor’s (In)Visibility
(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love

Brooke Erin Duffy

Yale University Press

This chapter reveals the extent to which social media producers must reconcile the tensions between labor and leisure, between the internal self and external publics, between authenticity and self-promotion, and between creativity and commerce. It is these same patterned contradictions that configure the system of aspirational labor that has been discussed throughout this book. Thus, while blogging/vlogging/Instagramming is framed in the popular imagination as individualized self-expression, social media producers instead tend to approach these activities with the commitment and purpose of full-time, paid employment. In addition to scheduling and producing textual material, staging photos, and promoting content across the vast social media landscape, these aspirational laborers worked vigilantly to build and maintain “relationships” in both online and offline contexts.

Keywords:   aspirational labor, social media producers, labor, leisure, authenticity, self-promotion, self-expression, full-time employment, aspirational laborers

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