Constructing the Platform-Specific Self-Brand: The Labor of Social Media Promotion

Leah Scolere, Urszula Pruchniewska, Brooke Erin Duffy
2018 Social Media + Society  
With the widespread uptake of social media, discourses and practices of self-branding have become a pervasive feature of social and economic life. However, the way in which the digital self-brand gets reproduced across a sprawling social media landscape remains comparatively under-theorized. Our paper therefore draws upon in-depth interviews with 52 online content creators-including designers, artists, writers, and marketing consultants-to examine how cultural workers present themselves across
more » ... themselves across the panoply of social networking sites. As we show, workers' self-presentation activities were structured through the production of a platform-specific self-brand, which was based upon the imaginations of (1) platform affordances, (2) audiences, and (3) the producer's own self-concept. Our findings highlight producers' compulsion to engage in continuous, cross-platform labor-despite widespread uncertainty about its economic outcomes. We conclude by addressing the stakes of a social media moment when workers of all stripes are prodded to incessantly curate, monitor, and ultimately invest in their online personae.
doi:10.1177/2056305118784768 fatcat:mhugazjwiberlfkgd2jkmufqeu