Beyond micro/internet celebrity: Renewing Wanghong as a Concept

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Beyond micro/internet celebrity: Renewing Wanghong as a Concept

Author | Affiliation: Dino Ge Zhang | Zhejiang University

Presenting at:
3A | Wanghong, Social Media Entertainment and the Social Industries


This explorative study on wanghong circumvents the framework of microcelebrity or internet influencers, and argues that wanghong is way more complex than internet fame and entrenched in contemporary Chinese postdigital everyday life. By postdigital, I specifically refer to how the online and offline processes and practices in relations to wanghong have become so congruent with each other that the distinction no longer makes sense. Wanghong as continuing conceptual creations go way beyond what the term literally refers to as ‘internet red (fame)’: it becomes a prefix that is attached to a great many contexts, aesthetics, algorithms, spaces, design practices, faces, people and so on. Just to name a few examples, wanghong spaces, wanghong faces, wanghong architectures, and wanghong restaurants. In many cases, the spaces/objects/people under discussion are not famous at all, not even in the ‘micro’ sense, but attached to wanghong nonetheless. What unites all these terms is not necessarily internet fame per se, but a replicable commercial logic of circulation between platform capitalism (from WeChat to Dianping to Little Red Book to Instagram, and their recommendation algorithms, timeline micropolitics), user practices (from the simple acts of posting photos and reviews, to image filter apps, to professionalized teams of photographers and costume/makeup artists), and owners of various spaces (including designers, entrepreneurs and so on).

About the author

Dino Ge Zhang

Email: –

Dino Ge Zhang is a media anthropologist and a postdoctoral fellow at Zhejiang University. 

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