[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 3

Joonas Rokka joonas.rokka at gmail.com
Tue Dec 8 09:34:34 AEDT 2015

Hi everyone and thanks Jonathan for the discussion opener and also for
including me as a discussant. My name is Joonas Rokka and currently work in
France at EMLYON Business School. In my ongoing research on the visual, I
am interested in studying how consumer-made selfies interrogate and impact

In other words, I try to understand the growingly popular phenomenon where
people tag, feature and express brands in their selfies. At this point, I
am trying to learn how that happens (the practices) and what exactly they
post (content) but also how the heterogeneity of brand-tagging selfie
images relate to and resonate with other brand images (for example by the

I find it interesting because much of the branding work that we know is
established on the idea that brands express their authentic and charismatic
“vision” through images (ads, video) that are carefully crafted, curated
and assembled. What the brand-tagging selfies bring is this whole multitude
of visions and expressions that are diffused on a massive scale. I would
argue this poses major new challenges to brands (and researchers) primarily
because of the visual: the selfie images entail a new language, aesthetic,
and trajectory of communication – as Jonathan has show in his research –
that is radically different from, for example, more traditional textual
interaction with brands. For example, while it is quite possible to code
textual postings as “negative” or “positive” (what data monitoring software
can readily and with some success do) the same is a very complex issue with

But yes, I will explain how I deal with some of these issues at the Kern
conference and tell also about my project on “champagne selfies”. It’s a
project where I used a data monitoring software to gather selfie images
that feature most talked about champagne brands (I follow 19 different

I personally prefer to conceive selfies as a rather broadly defined type of
image. But I am curious to hear how you define the limits of what selfies
are, and where can we say selfie is different to say self-portrait for
example? How do you see it?

Thanks in advance,


On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 6:42 PM, Jonathan Schroeder <jesgla at rit.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Here are the rest of my invitees for this discussion:
> Doug Allen is Chair of Markets, Innovation, and Design at Bucknell
> University’s School of Management. His research focuses on consumer culture
> and emphasizes practice theory in the context of various domains of
> experience ranging from consumer choice to financial investing practices.
> His work has appeared in a number of journals in marketing, consumer
> research, and finance.
> Mehita Iqani is Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of
> the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the author of
> Consumer Culture and the Media: Magazines in the Public Eye (2012) and
> Consumption, Media and the Global South: Aspiration Contested (2015).  She
> received her PhD from the Department of Media and Communications at London
> School of Economics and Political Science.
> Richard Kedzior is assistant professor of Markets, Innovation and Design
> at Bucknell University’s School of Management. As a consumer researcher he
> focuses on issues at the intersection of culture and technology such as
> digital materiality. His recent work on the interplay of digital
> technologies and consumer identities has been published in Journal of
> Marketing Management. His articles has also been published in numerous
> edited volumes dedicated to consumption and consumer culture.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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