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

Social Media + Society. 2018;4 DOI 10.1177/2056305118784768


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Social Media + Society

ISSN: 2056-3051 (Online)

Publisher: SAGE Publishing

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Philology. Linguistics: Communication. Mass media

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Leah Scolere (Colorado State University, USA)

Urszula Pruchniewska (Temple University, USA)

Brooke Erin Duffy (Cornell University, USA)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

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 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.