BUILDING PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

Amber Buck

Abstract


Social networking sites have changed the ways that individuals interact with others and represent themselves in both personal and professional contexts. There has been a great deal of research conducted on how young people use social media for social interactions (boyd, 2014; Marwick, 2010; Livingstone, 2010) and to maintain social relationships. There has been little research, however, on how young people represent and develop their professional identities online and through social network sites when they begin looking for professional employment.
Previous research has found that students have little guidance when it comes to managing their privacy settings and representing themselves professionally for the job market (Buck, 2012). This paper investigates the use of social media to present professional work and interests through journalism students’ online professional portfolios and an integration of these identity representations through social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Through an exploration of these students’ professional identity representations, this study considers how educators might assist students in entering distinct “communities of practice” (Lave & Wenger, 1991) in online spaces in order to consider themselves as developing professionals.

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