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2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Sunday, July 30 • 15:31 - 17:00
Platform-Specific Self-Branding: Imagined Affordances Of The Social Media Ecology [FULL]

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Authors: Brooke Erin Duffy, Urszula Pruchniewska and Leah Scolere

Abstract: Despite the recent uptick in literature on self-branding across the fields of internet studies, business/marketing, and media/cultural industries, the ways in which the digital self-brand gets reproduced across a sprawling social media ecology remains comparatively under-theorized. Our paper draws upon in-depth interviews with 42 creative workers—including designers/artists, bloggers/writers, online content creators, and marketers/ publicists—to understand how independent professionals present themselves and their work in the digital economy. We show that despite the common refrain of maintaining a “consistent” online persona, creative workers continuously negotiate their self-presentation activities through a logic we term platform-specific self-branding. The platform-specific self-brand, we contend, is based upon the “imagined affordances” [43] of individual platforms and their placement within the larger social media ecology. Such imaginations are constructed through the interplay between: 1). platform features; 2) assumptions about the audience; and 3). and the producer’s own self-concept. We conclude that creative workers’ incitement to incessantly monitor and re-fashion their digital personae in platform-specific ways marks an intensification of the “always on” laboring subjectivity required to vie for attention in a precarious creative economy.

Sunday July 30, 2017 15:31 - 17:00 EDT
TRS 1-073 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4