All the world's a stage, and so is Twitter: How Dutch and Flemish journalists brand themselves on Twitter

Cara Brems, Martina Temmerman, Marcel Broersma, Todd Graham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


By employing smart strategies for self-presentation journalists can obtain a central position in the
network as news and opinion hubs. This is important for media organisations because individual journalists are
in general regarded as more interesting than institutional accounts because of the opportunity to interact with
them. Their self-performance can thus strengthen (or harm) the reputation of the media brand. For individual
journalists, it's equally significant because it influences their reputation and helps determine their "market
value", which has become more and more important in the shallow economic climate of journalism. The
traditional relationship between the individual journalist and the news organisation is clearly changing into a
more hybrid affiliation.
This paper taps into this phenomenon by investigating and exploring the personal branding of Dutch and
Flemish journalists on Twitter. In order to achieve this, a mixed methods approach was adopted, which focused
on the tweets of twenty journalists from each country (newspaper, broadcast and online journalists, both
freelance and employed). First, based on a content analysis of tweets taken from a four week period, we map
their tweeting behaviour in terms of the balance between private and work-related tweets; their topic; the
types of tweets (e.g. singleton, retweet, @-reply); the function of tweets (e.g. broadcasting news, critiquing,
own stance, requesting public input); and interaction (i.e. with whom were they interacting). We paid particular
attention to tweets containing links or references to the journalists' own work or the work from other
journalists in their news organization. The quantitative content analysis was supplemented by a discourse
analysis that builds on Goffman's (1951) notion of self-presentation. We consider Twitter the stage on which
journalists perform and create their persona while interacting with others in front of an audience. Their
strategies for self-presentation are thus structured both in the interaction with others, which is particularly apt
for a network medium like Twitter, and the perceived expectations of their followers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHybridity and the News: Hybrid Forms of Journalism in the 21st Century.
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2014
EventUnknown -
Duration: 4 Dec 2014 → …


Period4/12/14 → …


  • journalism studies
  • persona
  • Twitter
  • personal branding
  • self promotion


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