Publications

  • García-Rapp, F. (2018) “Trivial and Normative? Online Fieldwork within YouTube’s Beauty Community”, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, online first, 24 October, 1–26                        
  • García-Rapp, F., (2017) “My Friend Bubz: Building Intimacy on YouTube’s Beauty Community”, In: Andreassen, R., Petersen, M., Harrison, K., Raun, T., “Mediated intimacies. Connectivities, relationalities and proximities“, pp. 282-295, Routledge, London   
  • García-Rapp, F. (2017) “Come join and let’s BOND”: Authenticity and Legitimacy Building on YouTube’s Beauty community, Journal of Media Practice, 18 (2-3), pp. 120-137
  • García-Rapp, F. and Roca-Cuberes, C. (2017) “Being an online celebrity – Norms and expectations of YouTube’s beauty community”, First Monday, 22 (7), July Issue 2017          
  • García-Rapp, F., (2016) “The Digital Media Phenomenon of YouTube Beauty Gurus: The Case of Bubzbeauty”, International Journal of Web Based Communities, 12 (4), pp. 360-375
  • García-Rapp, F., (2016) “Popularity Markers on YouTube’s Attention Economy: The Case of Bubzbeauty”, Celebrity Studies, 8 (2), pp. 228-245

García-Rapp, F., (2016) “The Digital Media Phenomenon of YouTube Beauty Gurus: The Case of Bubzbeauty”, International Journal of Web Based Communities, 12 (4), pp. 360-375                  dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJWBC.2016.080810  Download Preprint

Based on broader digital ethnographic research performed on YouTube, the article aims at framing issues of online popularity development through the examination of videos and user comments. To explore the phenomenon of beauty gurus, I analyse a purposeful sample of 80 videos from the channel Bubzbeauty and introduce an emerged typology of two video categories: tutorials and vlogs. Findings suggest that the strengthening of the guru’s role as a popular online personality is the result of two spheres of influence. The commercial side consists of YouTube as a business platform and is best represented by her tutorials. The community sphere, sustained by the power of affective ties with her audience, is represented by her vlogs. I argue that her market value as a renowned guru is built through her know-how expressed in straightforward tutorials. Conversely, her social value as an interesting, trustworthy personality is fostered by intimate vlogs.

García-Rapp, F., (2017) “Popularity Markers on YouTube’s Attention Economy: The Case of Bubzbeauty”, Celebrity Studies, 8 (2), pp. 228-245                                                                                   dx.doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2016.1242430  Download author’s postprint  Download eprint version of record

This article focuses on attention and popularity development on YouTube’s beauty community. I conceptualise the role of views and subscriptions as popularity markers, based on a broader ethnographic examination of 22 months of immersed fieldwork on the platform. I consider the case of Bubz, a British-Chinese beauty guru, through a purposeful sample of 80 videos. An emerged content typology is introduced, presenting four distinctive video categories: content-oriented, market-oriented, motivational, and relational. Drawing from concepts as ‘attention economy’ and ‘metrics of popularity’ (Burgess and Green, 2009a, 2009b), I explore content characteristics and affordances for the creation and maintenance of viewers’ attention. I argue that the guru’s uploads lead to two types of audiences –casual viewers and loyal subscribers. Vlogs renew attention and help maintain the interest first generated by tutorials, leading to treasured subscribers –an essential commodity within YouTube’s highly competitive environment.

Chapter in anthology Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education (ECREA)
García-Rapp, F., (2017) “My Friend Bubz: Building Intimacy on YouTube’s Beauty Community”, In: Andreassen, R., Petersen, M., Harrison, K., Raun, T., Mediated intimacies. Connectivities, relationalities and proximities“, pp. 282-295, Routledge, London.
Book. Download author’s postprint

Drawing from a multi-year ethnographic study of YouTube’s beauty community, I examine the case of Bubz, a British Chinese beauty guru. The article considers her vlogs and tutorials characteristics and distinctive affordances for establishing and sustaining emotional ties with her audience. In addition, the value of her celebrity position as well as the uses of her content for the purposes of inspiration, creativity, and identity work are thematized. I interpret her videos in view of what I term scale of intimacy, highlighting the relevance of her connection-seeking vlogs for the development of online intimacy. Findings are based on a purposeful sample of 20 videos and 3.000 user comments.

García-Rapp, F. and Roca-Cuberes, C. (2017) “Being an online celebrity – Norms and expectations of YouTube’s beauty community”, First Monday, 22 (7), July Issue 2017, open access                                           dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i17.7788

This article is based on 22 months of online fieldwork examining YouTube’s beauty community, specifically the beauty guru Bubz, her uploaded content, and user comments. We aim to conceptualize central community-specific dynamics and practices, particularly those related to self-presentation and identity-management and their affordances for legitimized online popularity. We explain how the guru’s successful online persona is based on a performative blend of relatable, down-to-earth values paired with a more aspirational and worthy of emulation side. Being an “ordinary-user-turned-famous” is seemingly an advantage given the high relevance of authenticity when judging online celebrities. However, her inherent ordinariness also increases expectations of trustworthiness and honesty, precisely because she is, and continues to perform daily, a regular user.

García-Rapp, F. (2017) “Come join and let’s BOND”: Authenticity and Legitimacy Building on YouTube’s Beauty community, Journal of Media Practice, 18 (2-3), pp. 120-137                                                                 dx.doi.org/10.1080/14682753.2017.1374693  Download eprint version of record  Download author’s postprint

Contrary to the fifteen minutes of fame of online memes and viral videos in the volatile and competitive environment of YouTube, successful beauty gurus achieve sustained popularity, enjoy from long-lasting viewer engagement and inhabit legitimized celebrity positions. This article is based on a multi-year ethnographic examination of YouTube’s beauty community, focusing on the popular British-Chinese beauty guru Bubz, her channel Bubzbeauty, and the community of viewers formed around her content. Parting from the question of what legitimates Bubz in her influential role, I conceptualize community-specific norms that guide practices, particularly those related to self-presentation and identity-management and their implications for everyday celebrity practice. Merited fame involves certain requirements that need to be consistently demonstrated. The importance of first demonstrating expertise and effort, and then consistently following the community rules of self-presentation and engagement with brands and viewers without ‘selling out’ is at the heart of the values of YouTube’s beauty community.

Diagram – Fame Cycle and Content Uses – Bubzbeauty

García-Rapp, F. (2018). Trivial and Normative? Online Fieldwork within YouTube’s Beauty Community, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, online first, 24 October, 1-26                                                    doi.org/10.1177/0891241618806974  Download author’s postprint

In this article, I discuss methodological understandings around qualitative research and online ethnographic practice to bring forward a reflexive account on the particularities of doing fieldwork on YouTube. I draw from a multi-year ethnographic examination of YouTube’s beauty community that sought to understand online popularity framed by local norms and practices and shed light into the local significance of knowledge, expertise, and self-development (García-Rapp 2016, 2017; García-Rapp and Roca-Cuberes 2017). I argue for an epistemological perspective that acknowledges the diversity of viable, conceivable fieldwork experiences while distancing from prescriptive modes of argumentation. I propose seeing fieldwork in and through its richness and predicaments, persistently naturalistic while interpretive. I approach online popularity, fandom, and even YouTube itself from a perspective that tolerates ambivalence, contradictions, and embraces the complexity of social worlds and human interaction.