Pop Culture Talk: The Power of the Kardashian Social Media Machine
We’ve reached a point in our collective culture where we must now ask ourselves: do we still want to keep up with this most famous family or are we thoroughly exhausted by the constant coverage of all things Kardashian?
The thing with these otherwise “talentless” women – (and this is up for debate, I know) – is that the Kardashians and Jenners have managed to stay on our TVs for over a decade (with their spin-offs, we can catch them in some form or another almost every week), they have graced a slew of magazine covers, they dominate on popular social media platforms and now we can download their apps (designed around each of the famous sisters’ “diverse” personalities) onto our ever-present phones and stay truly up to date on all they want us to see.
Hate watch them as we (or should I just say I ) may – no one can deny the fact that they are making ungodly amounts of money. And that’s not even the important takeaway – at least not the way Caroline and I see it. As news junkies (who share a penchant for celebrity fodder), what we love most about them is their ability to masterfully control their own narrative – like G.O.AT. control it.
In these here digital times we live in, it only takes a matter of minutes for something scandalous viral – but the Kardashian Kluster Krew seems to have this innate ability to micromanage, capitalizing or squashing every story and soundbite that goes out. That’s because they are carefully putting out the content they want you to see. In my humble opinion, that is their star talent. Their new app is a shiny new cog in the Kardashian social media content machine.
I think we always knew we wanted to have our own platform… We kind of make the rules. Whether it’s rumors we want to shut down, stories we want to tell, photos we want… I just felt like there was no other platform that could do it all, unless we did it ourselves.
So, as fellow (but much less famous!) social content creators, Caroline and I admire them. And in wake of their new apps’ launching, we got to talking about them. It all started with this article.
Caroline: I wonder if they’ll start to make these big announcements through their apps, bypassing mainstream media and trashy magazines completely. Maybe the apps are their vehicle. They make all the money direct instead of having to cut deals with anybody. Between the apps, Kardashian social media domination and their show they can completely control perception and garner ratings and views while they’re at it. Pretty brilliant.
Syreeta: Oh absolutely. And isn’t that name of the game? -Control the narrative, get ahead of it. They have no “talents” to speak of other than PR. And we live in a world where image is everything. Do you think in like 30 years people will look back and wonder what we were thinking in some sort of anthropological study? Like with Edith Wharton.
C: Oh I’m sure. I mean they all are in the same game as supermodels in a way. We just know a lot more about them. And they are posing for more than still photographs. (Though they do that a lot too.)
S: Yeah and the interesting thing about them for me is that they’re hated as much as they are loved. Entirely new “Hollywood” model. No such thing as old glamour anymore.
C: Yea. I think that kind of controversy has been pretty common in Hollywood though. Have you listened to that podcast “You Must Remember This?” A lot of the starlets that existed in the first half of the 20th century had a lot more going on than we generally remember. Like Marilyn Monroe, Ida Lupino, Marion Davies. They all had a lot of complexity as far as public opinion and who they really were. Some had “talent” and some not as much. The power was in the persona. The difference with the Kardashians is they are molding their images instead of some dude. Though arguably Bruce Jenner’s [famousness and achievement] got them their start [with the reality show]. I think the “no talent” thing is just associated with reality tv in general. But what the hell is “talent” even? It’s so subjective.
S: This is true. It takes talent to make people believe that it’s real and it takes talent to play dumb.
C: Because it’s entertaining. I almost think it’s more interesting that they have a say in how the narrative unfolds, instead of some editor cutting shit together to make it a juicy story. We learn a lot about what they are trying to do when they have a say. Well “dumb” can be relatable. I think that is super gendered too. Listen to the Marilyn Monroe episode of You Must Remember This. A lot of the perceived dumbness and use of sexuality themes are explored there.
S: I keep thinking of that quote by Marilyn: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.”
C: She became what people wanted. She was smart enough to know what they wanted.
S: I also remember reading about how she would “turn it on” when the public was around
C: And like Kim, she kind of channels it into being a popular sexual object and embraced it to serve her purposes.
S: Yeah, exactly. She’s defined herself by being what men want and women envy.
C: Hopefully phase two for Kim is to turn the conversation to other issues. She’s started to do that in her tweets and the latest episode of KUWTK they go to Armenia and talk about the Armenian genocide. Even explaining why they wanted to take the show there.
S: Yeah, i’ve started to notice that a bit more as well.
C: I’m not saying she’s going to be the next great humanitarian but it wouldn’t be the first time a woman known for her sex appeal used her platform for other causes later in life.
S: Start move. I think she feels secure now with her audience in way that maybe a few years ago she wasn’t. She also has the backing of Kanye in her effort to in being a lot more vocal. As well as securing her position in the spotlight…
C: Oh man, a few years ago she would take any silly campaign. She worked constantly on embarrassing bullshit.
S: I actually was listening to a podcast called: “The Read:” and they posed the question – if Kim was asked to leave Kanye for the ratings would she? I think they said – which I agree – she wouldn’t. Mostly because reality fame is not nearly as secure as that of a music legend’s.
C: I wonder if they had Kourtney leave Scott for the ratings. If shit like that is happening, that’s gnarly.
S: I also think that’s why she took his last name and not Kris Humphries. Maybe. But he was a loose cannon anyway – so the “momager” probably thought he was a liability. Fake breakups happen all the time in hollywood.
C: She talked about taking Humphries name and Kris freaked out. It is integral to their persona that they are perceived as traditional.
S: Look at Jennifer Lopez and that breakup dancer – they were spotted together again days after the premiere of her latest movie. Traditional in the sense that a wife takes the husband’s last name?
C: Yea. I think Kim plays the I’m traditional card a lot. Especially before Kanye. The constant marriage and kids talk.
S: Yeah but I mean – she had to a narrative too.
C: More than anything else that was Kim’s deal – that she wanted to be married with kids and she is a hard worker.
S: Kourtney was with Scott. Khloe was constantly looking and dating and Kim was suppose to be ready for the right guy. Did you ever see the episode with John Edwards the psychic? He predicted they would have kids and the number… and they did.
C: What is that guy’s deal! That episode was very weird. I felt like it was scripted to give the impression that divorce was a good thing for Kim. To absolve her of some of the blame and temper the negative feelings about her 72 day marriage.
S: Yah super weird. And supposedly they contacted their Dad. And they guy was like “Dad says you learned your lesson right, Kim?” Also – the strangest thing about them tho – is how they cut out the brother. It’s like he doesn’t exist. I understand him not being on the show but no appearances anything. It’s like the mom was willing to make a sacrifice for the sake of the show.
C: He wanted to be cut out i think. He’s kind of hiding away from the spotlight. which is probably frustrating to the rest of them because he did figure into the show as the only dude. I saw some gossip saying he was going to come back because he’s going broke though.