The appeal of Lil Miquela and the impact of virtual influencers on digital strategic communication

Presented by: Dr Elena Block

Date: Friday 22 October 2021
Time: 12–1pm
Location: Online via Zoom 


Abstract

This presentation continues my exploration on whether and how virtual fashion influencers are jamming digital strategic communication, advocacy, and influencer practices. It expands on my existing research, developed together with industry collaborator Rob Lovegrove, presented at ICA2020, and published by Public Relations Inquiry in June 2021. We examined a computer-generated imagery (CGI) character called Lil Miquela that has 3 million followers on Instagram and 3.3 million followers on TikTok. I am particularly interested in how #BlackLivesMatter advocate Miquela (and her creators) build the communication strategies they use and the elements that make ‘her’ so appealing to postmillennial audiences, luxury and indie brands, and civil rights activists alike. ‘Her’ discordant human/nonhuman ethos simultaneously allures, intrigues, and defies. I use the Freudian concept of ‘the uncanny’ to study what make her texts, which are currently more focused on telling the story of ‘her’ life, so compelling to some audiences and so important to her creators and minders. My expanded research on this topic aims to make a contribution to studies on the use of CGI and AI characters in digital strategic communication environments.


Presenter

Elena Block is a Lecturer in Strategic Communication at The University of Queensland’s School of Communication and Arts. She has a PhD in Political Communication from The University of Queensland and MSc in Political Sociology from the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE). She is a Former assistant professor in Political Communication at the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) and has a long trajectory as a journalist, media relations and public affairs executive in Venezuela. Her main areas of interest: political communication; strategic communication; populist communication; the mediatisation of politics and society; virtual and teen influencers and their role and impact on strategic communication and advocacy.


 

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series

 


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 11 March
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

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Friday, 25 March
12-1pm

Hybrid

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Dr Chris Hay

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12-1pm

Online via Zoom

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Friday, 29 April
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

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Friday, 13 May
12-1pm

Hybrid

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Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

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Friday, 10 June
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan