Tessa Baum <baum.t> [] HackMD - Collaborative Markdown Knowledge Base

Reading Response Set 2 (4/5) ##### Tessa Baum #### March 15th (Stoke, 2014) + ([Vox, 2020](https

Online Entrepreneurship and Social Media

The individualistic and hopeful attitude towards social media and digital entrepreneurship has made it both easier and harder to gain a platform online. With so many people competing for visibility the tactics to get to the top are varied and exhausting. Duffy (2017) observes the word “organic” when interviewing women on how they network and generate larger audiences. These explanations of “soft-shell” non-aggressive tactics, like slowly building connections with each business partner, divert attention from the actual effort needed to gain recognition. On the other hand, Lorenz (2017) exposes the shady practices of influencers called sponcon. Opposite to the organic approach, sponcon is an attempt to gain legitimacy by faking sponsorships. This technique connects to another point of Duffy’s: a polished online presence validates your work. Faking sponsorships, like lying on a resume, gives other brands the illusion of experience and professional precedent.

It seems that curating a credible online image takes a village. Duffy (2017) and Cave (2017) highlight this collaborative effort in different ways. Duffy’s interviewees stated that there is an obligation between women online to support and uplift each other. This is reminiscent of Forsey’s (2018) explanation of Instagram pods, in which content-similar accounts flood each other with engagement to benefit insights and visibility. Cave (2017) describes the Instagram ‘husband/partner/soul-mate’ as someone who effectively takes arty photos for their “spouses” Instagram posts. Even with all of this help many people find themselves spread too thin (Duffy 2017). Nurturing genuine and continuous relationships with possibly hundreds of people at a time is strenuous and time consuming. It reminds me of Dunbar’s number. How would Dunbar revisit his evaluation of 150 connections in this new digital era? Is the reason that social media is so damaging because of the need to perform for and keep up with over 150 people? Social media makes me overwhelmed at best and self-loathing at worst, so why is it so addicting? Maybe our “individualistic and hopeful attitude towards social media” makes it so.

Tehya Gerbino <gerbino.t>

Link: [] Reading Responses (set 2) - HackMD


Response 3

In social media influencing the role of gender makes an impact on expectations and actions, just like it would in any field of work. For some, that means being an “Instagram Husband” one whose job it is to take pictures of their significant other to post online. However, it is not always that light-hearted and fun. In a study done by, Brooke Erin Duffy & Urszula Pruchniewska, they looked into the role of gender and entrepreneurship on social media. They specifically looked at women and their experiences as influencers online.

Given the “traditionally masculine-coded nature of entrepreneurship and its markers of success,” it makes sense why women would find similar struggles online, as they would in a regular workplace. The term “digital double bind” coined by Duffy and Pruchniewska touches on this. In their words, “The digital double bind is thus a testament to enduring structural inequalities that render female self-enterprise an inferior category of entrepreneurship; promises of digitally enabled meritocracy, we conclude, are largely superficial.” Their study explores this further, not only the structural inequalities already present in the entrepreneurship field, but how that translates to social media and online presence, “given social media’s governing logics of impression-management and reputation-building.” What they found, through interviews, was interesting. Many female social media entrepreneurs felt pressure to conform to not only society’s traditional views of women, but also social media views. They felt a need to show “femininity” while also showing “modesty.” They needed to show “sociality” while also maintaining “an aura of decorum.” Additionally, the writers explain that the “social media imperatives” mainly fall into three categories.

“(1) soft self-promotion, branding the self in ways deemed ‘organic’ or ‘subtle’ (2) interactive intimacy, relation-building practices; and (3) compulsory visibility, the injunction for workers to put their private selves on public display.”

Essentially, these women must maintain cultural and traditional norms of femininity, soft and “subtle,” while also showing authenticity, intimacy with the audience, and vulnerability. All while selling a product. Subtle, yet sharing “their private selves on public display.” It seems an almost impossible balance to maintain. While this strive for a balance of authenticity and promotion is faced by all genders in the field of influencing, the article reveals that women must also fit the more traditional views of an offline workplace environment. Maintaining femininity along with everything else, even when those do not always match up.

Personally, I have seen this firsthand. My cousin is a small social media entrepreneur. She sells wine mainly on her Instagram and Facebook. She has to tailor her posts to this exact mindset. Making the perfect business pitch without being too overbearing while also showing her authentic self. Finding a balance that works for your audience is challenging, and even more so when that audience grows. It has always confused me to expect authenticity in a business setting, but social media is changing that. The expectation has shifted and will continue to shift as long as people use and interact with social media.

Wei Wei Faith Chan <chan.we> [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD

Reading Responses (Set 2) ### March 23 – Online Dating and Living Alone Market research from Eu

April 12 – Gendered Work

Has this new age of digital entrepreneurship built on meritocracy abolished progressive gender politics? Unfortunately, not. Duffy and Pruchniewska (2017) interviewed 22 female internet entrepreneurs on the role of social networking sites in their professional ventures. What emerged was a digital double bind — a career impasse that has transcended offline work environments and permeated into the digital work environment, which requires females to put in a disproportionate amount of work to ensure their online success. The three social media imperatives that make up this digital double bind are soft self-promotion, interactive intimacy, and compulsory visibility. Women must tread the lines between aggressive self-promotion championed in men versus a more modest approach. Traditionally feminine roles of nurturing communities and fostering relationships are also prerequisites to their success online. Finally, visibility and blurring the lines between their public and private lives are mistaken for female empowerment. Together, they maintain the structural inequalities that independent female creatives face in this new era of entrepreneurship.

Duffy and Pruchniewska’s (2017) take on interactive intimacy paints relational labor as an over-romanticized social construct. There is without a doubt that this expectation of intimacy and community in female audiences is a result of gendered roles, is this prerequisite for success something that women always end up resenting? From my personal experience, plenty of women have used this very notion of community to build their brands from the ground up. This ‘obligation’ that exists to build other women up, in moderation, is not always a bad thing if it empowers them. Rather than viewing it as a dichotomy of gender expectations, I wonder if another perspective could be to view it as different methods to the same success. This is not to discount the lingering gender norms and internalized expectations, but we must also be careful to not discredit women who have built their ethos on female community and empowerment, viewing it as just a prerequisite for their success.

Faith Chan Northeastern University Candidate for BS in Psychology, Minor in Behavioral Neuroscience College of Science, Class of 2021 | 617-794-3820

Justine Chen <chen.justine>

Hi Professor Reagle,

Here is the link to my second set of reading responses. Below is the markdown for my final reading response.

Tuesday, April 12 - Gendered Work

As romantic as the notion that independent work liberates women from the structural barriers of traditional workplaces is, female self-enterprise presents another quandary: the digital double bind. Discourse surrounding female entrepreneurship glamorizes its increase in recent years, representing a new form of feminist liberation or mystique, and disregards the fact that the same inequalities that often motivate women to leave the traditional workplace follow them in their independent work. Duffy and Pruchniewska (2017) suggest that the success stories are the women who have managed to win at the elusive game of balance, specifically in self-promotion, interactive intimacy, and compulsory visibility. Women must strategically employ subtle, noninvasive marketing tactics while driving consistent growth, and they must take care that their personal selling and relationship-building does not affect business credibility (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017). Because self-disclosure and relatability are viewed as akin to female empowerment, the blurring of one’s public and private life becomes a professional decision.

But the mommy blogs, fashion and beauty blogs, and craft micro-enterprises ought not to be underestimated, and neither should the rise of female entrepreneurship. Do not mistake women’s reluctance to promote their success for failure or less time and energy invested in projects. I argue that the gender expectations that limit women in the traditional workplace enable them to be more successful and resilient in online self-enterprise, especially in media, marketing, or creative fields. Women drive social media growth because social media is “a fundamentally feminized space” and demands expressive communication (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017). Although tiresome, the necessary relational labor allows women to build a supportive social network that is key to success in online ventures.

Thanks, Justine Chen

Giovanna Cohen <>

Hi Professor,

Below is the link and markdown for my reading response for tomorrow’s class.





April 12 - Gendered Work

Social media and the internet have redefined gendered work. Although gender inequality continues to be present in various aspects of the workplace, the ability to work remotely has provided many opportunities for women in business. For instance, activities like blogging and craft-micro enterprises have propagated a rise in female entrepreneurship over recent years (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017). The ability to earn money has never been easier, and more women have turned to social media to launch their brands and businesses: not only do sites like Instagram provide them with income, but they also offer women “flexibility and outlets for their creative passions” (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017).

In contrast, more men have taken the more supportive job of Instagram husbands, helping their partners take, “staged photos of themselves for their Instagram account” (James Cave, 2017). Through these pictures, bloggers can engage in soft self-promotion, branding themselves in ways that are “non-invasive” and subtle. They can also feature sponsored content, which allows them to monetize their good taste and make their brands seem more established (Taylor Lorenz, 2018).

This new economy appears to be gender-neutral, where the rise from independent work can be framed as, “a movement away from bureaucratic, male-dominated work structures” (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017). Although this utopian rhetoric suggests that, “men and women have a level playing field”, it is important to acknowledge that gender inequality still exists, especially in media and creative industries. In essence, this new technological age poses many changes for both men and women, and gendered divisions in cultural work will still be maintained if we fail to account for them.

Natalie Gambardella <gambardella.n>



Apr 13 Tue - Gendered work

The new digital gig economy seems like both men and women have equal opportunity to “monetize their passions,” (Wong cited in Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017) but this does not mean they are both treated equally. From what I’ve noticed, there are different genres and double standards when it comes to male and female creators/influencers. It seems like females are put into categories more often than men. Females are put into categories based on what they discuss/promote on their social pages or videos, while most men are just titled “creators” no matter what type of content they create.

I would also argue that female professionals in digital communities have more of an expectation to share more personal details of their lives. I follow some female influencers who often feel the need to address the questions they constantly get about their personal life that they might not want to share. I don’t see this happening as much with the male influencers that I follow. This might be because women feel more of a need to “rely on likeability more than we do credibility.” (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017) One female participant In Duffy and Pruchniewska’s study found “that success in the social media age is about ‘just showing who you are.’” (2017) However, referring back to the topic of authenticity, how do your followers know who you really are? If authenticity is a social construct, who is to say whether or not you’re being authentic? This could turn into a double bind for women in digital environments – if you share too much of your personal life you’ll be judged, but if you don’t share enough you’ll be flooded with personal questions until you answer them.

Bryan Grady <>

Hello Professor,

Here is the link to my wiki page.

Here is the markdown copy of my response:

Gendered Work

It’s easy to think that the post-modern digital economy is simpler or easier, given that many people are able to make a living from their laptops in the comforts of their own homes. Certainly, there is a significant shift in moving labor out of the traditional office or factory, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still challenging. This is especially the case for women, as noted in a 2017 study by Brooke Duffy and Urzula Prunchniewska. Despite narratives about the internet creating opportunities for emancipatory female entrepreneurship, it often only does so within the gendered mold of ‘flexibility,’ where women are still expected to be home-bound and domestic (p. 847). Beyond this, there is unspoken additional labor that women are expected to perform in working towards success with their business. The authors refer to this as the “digital double bind,” where women are expected to pursue a balanced femininity within the tasks of “self-promotion, interactivity, and visibility” (p. 848). The distinction is that men are able to clearly state they are advertising their business, pick and choose who they mentor, and control how much of their personal lives they share. Meanwhile, women have to be non-aggressive in their promotion, feel an obligation to support other women, and worry about how much of their lives to share (both for business and personal security reasons) (p. 855). Some of the supposed timidity isn’t consistent in social promotion: for example, many female social influencers will push to advertise themselves so much that they will fake deals with sponsors (Lorenz, 2018). Nonetheless, it seems clear that within the conventional entrepreneurial space, women must navigate the digital age differently to find success.

While I’m not overly familiar with the world of internet entrepreneurship or influencers (not a very big Instagram user personally), I do have some awareness of the kind of gendered issues women face in being successful in their careers while using social media. One of the most important digital hate campaigns of the past decade, Gamergate, was very much a reflection of what can go wrong for women in a professional space. The sheer level of vitriol and threat that female game developers and journalists faced at that time was staggering. Multiple developers or community-relations employees ended up forced out of the industry, some of them fired by their own employers simply to make the issue go away. Women who raised concerns about the 4chan and Reddit-based hatemob, or even women who had made basic artistic critiques of the medium’s treatment of women, came under fire. While video games are a uniquely masculinized space due to decades of advertising towards young men, it’s easy to see how there would be similar strategic concerns for women trying to be vocal members of any industry. Besides just the threat of revealing too much of one’s personal life and putting herself in harm’s way, women can also be smacked down for being “outsiders” in business, sports, or entertainment spaces. I ultimately think (or at least hope) these conditions will improve, but for the moment, women simply cannot be their whole or authentic selves on the internet without facing professional challenges or bottom-up attacks.

Thanks, -Bryan Grady

Chelsea Lorene Henderson <henderson.che>

Hi Professor,

Here’s my reading response for tomorrow’s class on gendered work.

Thanks, Chelsea

Link: Markdown:

Tuesday, April 13 – Gendered Work

The idea that we live in a meritocracy is a myth, but it seems like online “influencers” are trying to challenge this notion. “The American Dream” is an unattainable goal due to the institutional barriers to success, but with the internet, it seems like there are more opportunities that have arisen for entrepreneurs. As Duffy and Pruchniewska discuss in their research paper, the “rise of independent work has been framed as a movement away from bureaucratic, male-dominated work structures,” but really women have still had to conform to traditionally feminine presentations in order to be successful (p. 844). In order to be successful in whatever business venture they’ve chosen – whether it be engaging in sponcons or lifestyle blogging (with the help of an Instagram husband) – they’ve had to “conform to traditional prescriptions for femininity, including modesty, sociality, and an aura of decorum,” resulting in what Duffy and Pruchniewska call the digital double bind – involving soft self-promotion, interactive intimacy, and compulsory visibility to appeal to audiences and clients (p. 845).

This discussion reminds me of the term “girlboss,” a millennial word used often to describe women who make their way up the corporate ladder by being assertive and confident. I’m actually currently writing an article about it for a journalism class because it’s such a complex topic. People see it as “feminist entrepreneurship” like Duffy and Pruchniewska discussed, and it’s previously been described as a marketable form of neoliberal feminism (p. 844). While it was originally used as a term for female empowerment, its many implications have now caused it to have a more negative connotation. Many find it problematic because of the specification of “girl” in front of “boss.” It’s a reminder that we’re not in a postfeminist world, as mentioned by Duffy and Pruchniewska, implying that women need to take on traditional masculine qualities like assertiveness and confidence while still maintaining a feminine aura in order to be successful in the workplace.

Chelsea Lorene Henderson <henderson.che>

Hi Professor,

Here’s the link to my complete second set of reading responses:

Thanks, Chelsea

Jennifer Hong <>

Here is my reading response for today! [] Reading Response #4 - HackMD 

Reading Response #4

April 13 Tue - Gendered Work

“Selling clothes and accessories! DM for purchase”

“Photographer - Contact DM”

“100% handmade personalized cake! Link under”

These are some bios for Instagram accounts that promote and sell their products through Instagram. In fact, this depicts how Instagram is not only a social platform but became an important place for business. Instagram even added a function which allows users to separately categorize their accounts as ‘Shopping & Retail’, ‘Business’, ‘Artist’ ‘Clothing (Brand)’, and etc. What is unique about these accounts is that they are not from big companies but are rather personal accounts. They were originally not an entrepreneur but after using Instagram, they have become an entrepreneur by self-employment after uploading a single picture. This idea is supported by the article ‘Gender and self-enterprise in the social media age’ which suggests that, “Technology now provides an opportunity for people anywhere in the world to monetize their passions allowing individuals to create their own jobs” (para 5, 2012).

The digital age has opened spaces for people to use it freely for any purpose and now Instagram has proven as a powerful marketing tool. It also provided a solution to inequality among gender in the workforce because the social media economy enabled women to profit from creative activities such as mommy blogging, lifestyle blogging, and craft micro-economies (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017).

However, the article “influencers are faking brand deals” portrays the shady strategy that the digital age adopted called sponcon. With the motto of ‘fake it until you make it’, sponcon is faking sponsorship to show “fake” promotional abilities to other businesses until one gets an actual sponsorship. It is taking advantage of a second persona on the internet to earn self-profit. Sponcon could negatively affect the business world because it can damage companies’ reputations by providing wrong or biased information. With the evidence of countless people faking sponsorships, I believe that the digital age has opened too many freedoms and opportunities that are now uncontrollable which caused individuals to lose online authenticity.

Alexandra Kanners <kanners.a>

Dear Professor Reagle,

Attached is my reading response for tomorrow’s lesson. Please let me know if I am missing anything.


General Markdown:

Apr 13th Tues - Gendered Work “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet” this is a quote most of us are familiar with. The reality is that while scrolling through social media, we only see what people want us to see. Many digital influencers have a specific reputation they need to uphold. They need to look a certain way and post specific types of content to generate views and build a strong following. However, even influencers need to start at the bottom of the food chain at one point. I was surprised to learn the extent to which influencers are willing to go to, in order to portray a certain image. Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content by Taylor Lorenz revealed how “Companies want to see your promotional abilities and past campaign work. So many have adopted a new strategy: Fake it until you make it.” It’s crazy to think that some of the posts we see on social media are not real sponsored ads. However, this is not surprising since it is very difficult to distinguish between fake and real advertisements. Lorenz explained how influencers will feature one product in multiple posts to seem as if they have been sponsored by the brand. This may seem absurd to some but “The more sponsors you have, the more credibility you have” (Lorenz, 2018). You need to have a certain online presence for companies to want to send you products for free. This explains why “Staging these fake promotions makes you seem like you’re in a position to be getting things for free, which helps you build your brand or media kit” (Lorenz, 2018). However, tricking your followers and brands into thinking you’re a major influencer can have negative consequences. Not all brand owners find free promotion flattering. Some brand owners fear that these self-proclaimed influencers will damage their own reputation and overall brand image.

Although social media can have negative consequences, it has also created more job opportunities than ever before. As explained in Gender and self-enterprise in the social media age: A double digital bind by Brooke Duffy and Urszula Pruchniewska (2017) “Career-minded women, using technologies that enable them to work from home are able to more seamlessly combine personal and professional obligations”. The internet has allowed many digital entrepreneurs to express their passions while having a stable source of income. However, putting yourself out there and engaging in self-promotion is challenging. In the past, entrepreneurship was seen as a male-dominated category. However, “Women have always been enterprising, whether through cottage industries or small-scale trade; it’s only in recent years the topic of gendered entrepreneurship has come to the fore, largely through press coverage and social media publicity” (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2018, p. 8). Social media has now become equally dominated by women. James Cave (2016) who published How To Be The Best ‘Instagram Husband’ You Can Be" explained how “The term ‘Instagram husbands’ was brought to popularity last year via a satirical video about social media that profiled men who take photos of their wives or girlfriends or Instagram”. Social media has become many influencers’ full-time job, and contrary to popular belief, it takes time and dedication to cultivate an audience.

Vinesh Khemlani <khemlani.v>


Link to Reading Responses: [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD


13th April - Gendered Work

Who knew that a fake sponsorship could get you more credibility than a real one? Taylor Lorenz’s article ‘Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content’ reveals how many Instagram influencers post ‘sponcons’, or fake sponsored posts. These brand deals are seen as a goal that influencers must attain in order to be deemed relevant, but also in order to share this idea that they are popular, regardless of whether they actually are. This reminds me of another article Taylor Lorenz wrote, where she mentions how gender reveals are “plagued by one-upmanship”. Just like how people try to present themselves in a certain way through a gender reveal, they do the same with false brand deals. Having many sponsorships is seen as being successful, and gaining “street cred”. However, there are numerous problems with it. Firstly, brands are forced to deal with influencers posting fake sponsorships of their products. This may lead brands to fear being associated with influencers with baggage or controversy, or fearing their products are advertised through mediocre posts. The ultimate consequence of this could be that brands’ reputations could suffer due to those reasons. Although the Federal Trade Commission has ruled that real sponsorships must be disclosed, they have not ruled on fake sponsorships that seem like real ones. Whether or not this is moral is another question, but brands seem to have mixed feelings on whether it should continue to occur.

​Best Regards, Vinesh Khemlani

Kendall Ku <ku.k>

Reading Response 3

April 13

Recently the term “girlboss” has been used to describe young female entrepreneurs and business owners. Personally, this term never sat well with me for a number of reasons. Why can’t women just be bosses? Why do we call them “girl” bosses when they are fully-grown, independent women? In their 2017 study Brooke Erin Duffy and Ursula Pruchniewska address the unique challenges women face in online entrepreneurship/business. Although being independently employed offers women freedom to pursue their passions for profit the benefits come at a cost. The same unequal standards for women in traditional business environments exist for independently employed women on the internet. Some examples include being compelled to keep a soft feminine image/presence, intimate relationship building, and compulsory visibility. Duffy and Pruchniewska call this phenomenon the “digital double bind.” While male entrepreneurs on the internet let their business/products speak for themselves, women are held to higher standards. Not only do their business/products have to be marketable, so does the women in charge of the business. In the conclusion of their study Duffy and Pruchniewska explain how masculine norms surrounding business and entrepreneurship affect women, writing: “masculine norms surrounding self-enterprise mean that female entrepreneurs are ‘othered’ simply through their participation in a male-coded system.” Duffy and Pruchniewska’s article explains why girlboss has become popular. Due to masculine norms in entrepreneurship and the business world, female bosses are seen as ‘others’ and do not belong. The system does not equate boss with woman, leading to terms like girlboss that keep them on the outside.

Laura Mattingly <>

Hello Professor,

Here is my final reading response:

Tuesday April 13 - Gendered Work

I don’t know much about influencers. I don’t really follow any, at least not any conventional ones - I follow people who make sponsored posts, sure, but those posts are mostly about art supplies or design challenges. What I mean to say is that I mostly follow artists on Instagram, which makes for a fantastic sample when looking at how gender affects the way people feel the need to do business.

I feel like I should talk about the two shorter articles too though. I had absolutely no idea that fake sponsored posts were a thing. Again, I think this is because I try to surround myself with people who are artists or people who are anti-capitalist/not on social media primarily to make money. “Instagram husbands” is a familiar term to me, though I’ve mostly heard it before as “Instagram boyfriends.” The gendering of the term so that men are primarily situated as the ones offscreen while women are the ones to-be-looked at has a multitude of fascinating implications. The primary ones though, in this case, would be the tendency towards the personalization of social media by women and the higher number of female influencers on Instagram.

And now onto Duffy. I follow a lot of tattoo artists and, thinking on it, the difference between how female/non-binary artists and male artists I follow act is quite stark. I think they work as a decent sample population as I follow tattoo artists from (primarily) America, Canada, and Europe (and gender norms retain some consistency across these areas), in a fairly narrow age range, and all working in the same industry. Most of the female tattoo artists that I follow display a much higher tendency towards disclosing their personal lives online. I’ve read their posts about mental health struggles, physical health struggles, interpersonal relationships. With these artists, a much greater parasocial relationship is present as they engage their audience on a much more personal level, adding more context to their art and engaging in Q&A sessions on Instagram stories. The female artists are far more likely to receive backlash. Most of male artists I follow only post their work. There’s one that will post some landscape photos and selfies, another that posts recipes and cooking clips to Instagram stories, but they exist as outliers, as the only two among well over a hundred fellows. The male artists are also far more likely to make sponsored posts.

I have absolutely no metric of measuring their success (ie, how many bookings they get), but both groups tend to post pictures of completed tattoos at similar rates, so there isn’t a readily apparent difference between the two. The female artists, like Duffy notes engage in more soft skills, as is typically expected from women in any field, even online.

Thank you, Laura Mattingly

Michael Montanaro <montanaro.m>

Hello Professor,

Here is my fourth reading response.

Thanks, Michael

URL: Markdown:

Apr 13 Tue - Gendered Work

Ever dreamt of being famous? With the rise of social media, the path to stardom has become far more accessible to the general public. Many female social media stars find that their new platform is very difficult to balance between professionalism and business in order to maintain and ensure success, a concept known as the digital double bind. The bind has three conflicting demands that are imperative to maintaining social media status: self-promotion, interactivity, and visibility.

Self-promotion is key to growing one’s brand and gaining the support of those around you. However, women must be far more meticulous with their self-promotion compared to men, who tend to be aggressive with talk of their success. Women lean towards a soft-sell method, where they suggest a natural unfolding of success and a build-up of connections.

Interactivity is the interactions and buildup of relationships between people, such as fans or potential business partners. According to a study done by Brooke Duffy and Urszula Pruchniewska, women are extremely careful to not have these relationships affect their credibility and to ensure a positive economic outcome.

Lastly, visibility is the balance between personal and vulnerable. For many female influencers, this balance can be nearly impossible, like with Mommy blogger Heather in the study spoken about above, who constantly needs to walk the line of personal versus vulnerable when talking about her life. Each entrepreneur in the study had vastly different responses to where exactly things get to be too personal.

Many social media accounts have noticed that securing a sponsorship deal is the perfect way to balance the three challenges above while also growing one’s account. This has created a wave of “sponsored” posts in which the post appears to be an ad but there is no connection between the brand and the account. For the lesser-known celebrities, this has driven down actual sponsorship deals and have only truly succeeded in growing the businesses not the accounts.

Does each social media site have the same line where things get too personal? In the Duffy reading, they talk about the balance between personal and vulnerable and it made me think about the various levels of vulnerability on social media platforms. Sites like Tik Tok and Snapchat tend to be far more personal than that of Instagram and Facebook. However, with how cautious influencers need to be, wouldn’t that mean that the vulnerability line on Facebook shouldn’t be crossed anywhere else in order to maintain that image seen on Facebook?

Chaitanya Peety <peety.c>

Greeting’s professor,

here is the link: [] Chaitanya's Reading Responses 2 - HackMD

content: ## Reading Response 3

Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content

Are you being paid or, are we being played? A question that suites the current scenario of social media promotions. Influencers today are pretending to be sponsored by many different brands to get fame and attention. And most of them do not even hesitate to say it out loud. It is a new trend that has going on, that is “fake it till you make it”. Doing such sponcon seems ridiculous but the customers and users do fall for it. It has also helped a lot of influencers to achieve their dreams and has sometimes helped brands indirectly to gain fame without paying for it. Monica Ahanonu, an illustrator and Instagram influencer with nearly 12,000 followers, said that fake ads have become so common that she’s not even sure who is sponsored and who is pretending. She practiced this and promoted a Channel cosmetic set to gain fame, and she did! Some of these influencers have become so good at it, it has become very difficult for anyone to identify who is real and who is faking it. Due to all these con practices, some brands have gotten negative branding as well, as not all the influencers are good or liked by the users. Some of them now try to keep their identities secure. Samantha Leibowitz-Bienstock, a lifestyle influencer who posts under the name Trendy Ambitious Blonde, posted a photo of herself with a Betsey Johnson bag she purchased with her own money and tagged the company, she was featured on its website. She wasn’t paid, but she considered it a win for her brand. But this happens very rarely, and this shouldn’t help promote the con practices. A coin always has two sides, likely this practice also has its negative impacts. The authenticity of the influencers has decreased affecting the pay by the companies. Today, people are paying one-tenth of the previous amounts for their brand’s promotion. Today the deals have just become a “verification badge” for them. Still, many people like Vingan Klein believe that it is not the influencer’s fault. These influencers have understood that there can be shortcuts and middle ways to get to the top of the hierarchy. I do not believe in shortcuts; it might get you to fame in less time, but it can also make you fall faster, and this is disrupting the working of nature. There is always a way and a time for everything; they can be multiple in numbers but there are.

Chaitanya Peety <peety.c>

Greeting’s Professor, Here is the link: [] Chaitanya's Reading Responses 2 - HackMD


Reading Response 4

How To Be The Best ‘Instagram Husband’ You Can Be

Hey, can you please click a picture of mine? It gets very awkward for people active on Instagram to always ask random people or for the matter of fact their colleagues as well to click their pictures all the time. And as obvious, they can’t take weird selfies and close-ups all the time, so they need some help. Instagram husbands - a term used for people behind the cameras. People who always take photos of the subject with the background for their social media accounts. This is exactly what the people mentioned above need. There are many tips and tricks to become a great “IG husband” and all of them include some level of good photography. It is also important to have a good sense of background so that when they see one, they can suggest their subjects to click a photo with it. Many big celebrities have started recognizing this trend and now do not hesitate to mention who is behind the camera. Many people have become IG husbands be it wives, husbands, or anyone. They have considered it as an opportunity to get closer to their partner and have something more in common to discuss and make memories about. It seems like one of the things that have no negative impacts as it is a good initiative to recognize the person behind the camera and also if this is helping people build a relationship.

Emma Richards <richards.e>

Hello Professor, Hoping you had a great weekend and care day. Here is my fifth reading response for set 2. See you for class on Tuesday. Thanks, Emma Richards



April 13 - Faked Sponsorships

The digital world is designed so that anyone with a dream of being famous, can be. Even if some of that fame is fake. An article by Taylor Lorenz at The Atlantic highlights how some online influencers are faking brand deals and sponsorships. Why? Because sponsorships are clout in the world of influencers.

It’s also getting harder and harder to spot the fakes from the genuine, so pretty much anyone with a decent following can pass for a sponsored influencer. Influencer Palak Joshi explains in the article that followers assume everything is sponsored when it really isn’t. Influencers can do this by tagging companies in their posts, promoting brands in their captions, and even going on vacations and posting as if it’s a promotional trip. I found this post with a “sponsored” caption on my Instagram feed:

Because the sponsorships are free advertising, some influencers use their clout as currency. I have heard of influencers that will go to any cafe, restaurant, boutique, or store and try to exchange their clout and platform for free food, products, and services. Influencers will show owners their social media following and promise promotional posts as a form of payment. This is a gamble for business owners because this could potentially bring in new customers, or none at all. The value of influence is hard to measure, and a misjudgment can be a hard fall for small businesses.

On the other hand, the article mentioned a sunglasses shop owner who does not like promotions from influencers he has not personally sponsored. The anonymous owner explained that although free promotion from random influencers can sometimes give them beneficial free press, he also worries that some influencers could ultimately damage the brand’s reputation. With no real control over the influencers making fake sponsorships, aspects like these can be dangerous, especially to small businesses.

Anyone entering the world of influencing knows that sponsorships will climb you higher up the ladder to success, so many are faking it till they make it. This platform of fake sponsorships can have benefits and drawbacks for both the influencer and businesses. However, the next obstacle involves differentiating the real from the fake and making sure businesses don’t suffer a blow to their reputation from someone they don’t work with, who just wants a piece of the clout pie.

Jiaying Shen <shen.jiayin>

Hi Professor Reagle,

Here is the link to my reading response: [] Reading Response Set 2 - HackMD

April 13th - Gender and self-enterpriseDuffy researches the role of gender in the digital age when it comes to self-enterprise. There are three elements she mentions including soft self-promotion, interactive intimacy, and compulsory visibility. The digital double bind makes female entrepreneurship seen as an inferior category compared to the traditional masculine entrepreneurship. In the interview, Pamela talked about the importance of putting oneself out there. She says, “If you’re not on social media, people think you do not exist, and they’re a little skeptical of you”. It’s true in the digital world especially when it comes to the media arts industry. More and more entrepreneurs start to build their online profiles to attract a decent number of followers and potential clients and sponsors. Once upon a time, I conducted an interview with a self-employed photographer, and she mentioned that now it’s different from the past. The clients would likely choose some “famous” photographers who post outstanding works and successfully promote themselves online. I wouldn’t say people would be skeptical of someone who’s not online but presenting oneself online does increase one’s chance to get the collaboration and jobs. But I disagree with the claim that “gendered notions of modesty and commercialism mean that women, especially in creative industries, are reluctant to market themselves”(Scharff, 2015). What I have seen is females are taking advantage of their genders presenting themselves online. For example, many female photographers would dress up appearing fashionable and neat online as well. They do not only promote their own works but also post themselves. This is implying to the viewers that their aesthetic could be trusted because of their own presented image. As a result, I don’t think gender is a definite factor causing the hesitation of marketing oneself.

Thank you, Jiaying Shen

Madison Williams <williams.mad>

Hi Professor!

Here is my homework assignment.

Reading Response Link:


Response #4: Duffy & Pruchniewska, Lorenz, and Cave Readings - due 4/13/21

In an effort to perform some level of wokeness or self-awareness, Duffy and Pruchniewska write in their article, “Gender and self-enterprise in the social media age: a digital double bind,” that:

“it is telling that the mostly white, middle-class women we interviewed were the ones being mentioned in public discourses of female entrepreneurship… we can conclude that any broadening of the prototype of an entrepreneur (to ostensibly include women) is still limited by class, race, and other social identity factors” (856).

This performative self-awareness in the conclusion of this article does not make up for the complete lack of intersectionality it showcased. This article presents cisgender white women as a sort of “everywoman” in the field of digital entrepreneurship. The exclusion of transgender women, women of color, and lower-class women from this research makes it hard to gleam any sort of universal truth in the arguments made here.

Even in the authors’ aforementioned attempt to be “woke,” they severely miss the mark in asserting that even all white women experience digital entrepreneurship the same way. The authors operate on the assumption that including cisgender women covers the entire category of gender diversity, meanwhile completely excluding the heightened scrutiny and “vitriol” (855) experienced by transgender women. Transgender women are frequent recipients of hate speech in their comment sections, the severity of which only increases for transgender women of color.

Duffy and Pruchniewska write that many women (read: cisgender white women) “seemed to promote themselves in feminine-coded ways to deflect potential critiques that they were being too ‘aggressive’” (850). This would have been a perfect location in the article to add in the experiences of Black women, and how they navigate digital entrepreneurship and marketing while facing the “angry Black woman” stereotype by simply existing. It’s honestly quite tone-deaf to talk about women being perceived as “aggressive” without taking into account the unique experiences of Black women. This is just one instance where the authors could have paused and said, “wait, we need to interview more people, we’re not telling the whole story here.”

The authors also did not address how digital entrepreneurship isn’t even accessible to many lower-class people, as the prerequisite for such a field is not only access to the internet, but sometimes also a smartphone. While recognizing fault in the fact that white middle-class (cisgender) women are the most praised for digital entrepreneurship, the authors failed to also recognize that BIPOC women are some of the most financially oppressed, and didn’t account for this intersection of oppression at all.

As a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor, this article perpetuates a lot of the white feminism I see throughout academia: making sweeping statements about women based on the experiences of white women, and referring to “men” as a monolith, when really, the authors are referring to privileges only held by white men. Intersectionality is extremely important when advocating for anyone, and it’s hard to see any real value in the claims made by an article written by cisgender white women about cisgender white women, with no real acknowledgement of any other marginalized identities outside of a disclamatory sentence here and there for “woke” points. The liberation for all lies in the liberation of Black transgender women.

The Transgender Law Center puts it best: “Black Trans Women & Black Trans Femmes, existing at multiple intersections of oppression, are uniquely singled out for criminalization by the police and government… When Black Trans Women & Black Trans Femmes are free to live and lead, all transgender women of color, all Black people, all transgender people, and ultimately all people will be free.”

Thank you! Madi

Madi Vespa Williams | any pronouns General Manager | New Renaissance Theatre Company Candidate for Bachelor of Arts in Theatre College of Arts, Media, and Design

Gregory Willis <> [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD

Reading Responses (Set 2) ## Responses: 5 out of 5 ### March 26 Tue - Breakup Within the digital

April 13 Tue - Gendered Work

The rise in popularity and monetary income of social media influencers has helped contribute to the increase of female breadwinners with supportive male partners. The gender wage gap still exists, and an overwhelming majority of the richest people in the world are all men, but the rise of social media influencers has allowed for more opportunities for women to become the primary breadwinners in a relationship. Until the gender wage gap is eliminated, and the working world’s bias against women ceases to exist, social media has become an unbiased, stable source of income for many influencers (regardless of gender) who profit off of their good tastes, ideas, and even looks.

Through this revolution, the term Instagram Husband was born, referring to the supportive partners of social media influencers, whether they be male or female. Before, it was expected for men to be the primary breadwinners in a relationship, and women were expected to be supportive figures. In many social media relationships, however, women are the primary breadwinners while men offer the support, often in the form of taking pictures of the partner.

Despite all of the influence social media relationships have on societal expectations, the stability of social media relationships are being threatened by influencers posting fake ads. Social media influencers make the majority of their income through sponsorships and selling merchandise, but with the rise of fake sponsorship ads, the income obtained from sponsors is bound to decrease. According to “Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content” from The Atlantic, “Because brands can piggyback off of waves of unpaid influencer promoters, some have ceased paying influencers completely, or now pay rates far below what they previously spent.” (Lorenz, 2018)

The rise of social media influencers has created a movement significantly altering societal expectations of gendered roles in American families, but the existence of fake sponsored ads threaten the stability of this lifestyle. This may discourage current and potential social media influencers from pursing this career, thus removing a career path for many Americans that offers truly equal opportunities regardless of gender.

Jungmi Yoon <yoon.ju>

Hi Professor Reagle,

Below is my markdown for today’s reading response. Here is the link to my response:

Thank you, Samantha

Tuesday, April 13th- Gendered Work

Jobs we have today were unimaginable in the last decade as I remember hearing when I was young that the jobs I might have when I get older are nonexistent previously. Careers in social media are newly innovative jobs that started with the rise of social media and technology. Influencers get sponsorships by promoting companies’ products and talking about the benefits. If you have more sponsored posts, you are considered more legit, like a “verification badge” to move up the hierarchy ladder quicker (Lorenz, 2018). However, a lot more is involved in posting on social media, such as having someone take your photos, so you don’t use your selfie sticks. This term is coined as “Instagram Husband’’ (Cave, 2017) since it’s assumed that more wives are likely to be involved with social media than their husbands. However, this goes with the gender stereotype in the digital age as entrepreneurship has this connotation of masculinity (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017). However, in recent years, there has been a rise in female entrepreneurship like mommy blogs, beauty blogs, and Etsy, as about 86% of businesses are women-owned (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017). It started because the traditional economy hinders women from thriving in the workplace as there are a “lack of paid maternity leave, inadequate time off, little flexibility, and unequal pay that doesn’t always cover the cost of childcare” (Duffy & Pruchniewska, 2017) making it harder for women to succeed compared to men. Relating to the Contribution & Gender lecture, according to Damore (2017), biological differences have an impact on gender discrimination, but this has been an ongoing debate as to how accurate that is. However, according to Reagle (2013), even though women are getting involved in the digital industry jobs, it’s an only specific type of occupation that works in their favor because women who work in computing-professions are considered too feminine in relation to other women outside the industry but aren’t geeky enough in comparison to male IT experts. No matter which industry and how much we try to be equal in the workplace, there still needs to be a lot of work done.

Samantha (Jungmi) Yoon Northeastern University ’21 College of Arts, Media, and Design- Communication Studies | 201-657-3333