Personal branding on Twitter : how employed and freelance journalists stage themselves on social media
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Digital journalism. - Abingdon, currens
, p. 1-17
Social media are increasingly embedded into everyday communication. This challenges journalism to anticipate the changes that social media trigger in the use and production of (news) media. In this paper, we focus on personal branding on Twitter. Journalists are increasingly encouraged to develop a personal brand on Twitter. This offers them the opportunity to become news and opinion hubs and to increase their market value. Erving Goffmans theatre metaphor is used as an analytical framework in which journalists are conceptualized as performers who are acting on a stage in front of an audience. Through a quantitative content analysis of the tweeting behaviour of 40 employed and freelance journalists, we explore the way they use social media to present themselves and which dilemmas they are facing. We analyse tweeting behaviour in terms of the types of tweets, functions of tweets and modes of interaction. The quantitative content analysis is supplemented with in-depth interviews with 12 journalists, in order to analyse the reasoning behind their social media habits. Our findings show that journalists particularly struggle with being factual or opinionated, being personal or professional, how to balance broadcasting their message with engagement and how to promote themselves strategically.