The rise of blogs and social media provide a public platform for people to share information online. This trend has facilitated an industry of self-appointed ‘lifestyle gurus’ who have become instrumental in the management of intimacy and social relations. Advice on health, wealth creation, relationships and well-being is rising to challenge the authority of experts and professionals. Pitched as ‘authentic’, ‘accessible’ and ‘outside of the system’, this information has produced an unprecedented sense of empowerment and sharing. However, new problems have arisen in its wake.
In Lifestyle Gurus, Baker and Rojek explore how authority and influence are achieved online. They trace the rise of lifestyle influencers in the digital age, relating this development to the erosion of trust in the expert-professional power bloc. The moral contradictions of lifestyle websites are richly explored, demonstrating how these technologies encourage a preoccupation with the very commercial and corporate hierarchies they seek to challenge.
A timely account of how lifestyle issues are being packaged and transacted in a wired-up world, this book is important reading for students and scholars of media, communication, sociology and related disciplines.
1 What is a Lifestyle Guru?
2 The Rise of Lifestyle Gurus in the Digital Age
3 ‘Be Authentic’: Lifestyle Gurus as Trusted Companions
4 ‘Your Person as a Product’: Commodifying Influence
5 ‘Don’t Eat That!’: Lifestyle Gurus as Unregulated Advisers
6 The Two Cults of Lifestyle Perfectionism
7 Living in a Low Trust Society