With the advent of social media and increase in networked publics, context collapse has emerged as a critical topic in the discussion of imagined audiences and blurring of the private and the public. The meshing of social contexts portends problematic issues as messages inadvertently reach unimagined audiences causing shame and leading to loss of ‘face’. In this article, we specifically study the impact of context collapse on some celebrities ‘who had it all’ yet, lost ‘it some’ to the world of networked public. The article examines celebrities sharing identity information across multiple contexts and explores situations of lost fame when ‘face’ is threatened, usage falters and breaks some of the well-established norms of interactivity. It concludes that lack of prudence in separating social contexts, loss of ‘face’ and social approval can dampen online celebrity presence. It proposes the use of ‘polysemy’ to simultaneously appeal to audiences from different contexts.
- ESHCC M&C