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Conducting the Personal Brand

Conducting the Personal Brand

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Published by Jonas Bååth
The object of this master’s dissertation has been to investigate one-person enterprisers’ (OPE) experiences of conducting both personal identity and brand at social network sites (SNS). The purposes of this research have been to elaborate on sociological theories of brand and identity in a network society context and to present hypotheses on how SNS can be developed to empower all OPEs.

Since this field is rather unexplored in sociological research, and because it is the experiences of the OPEs that are the focus of the research, ethnographic methods, i.e. qualitative interviews, were chosen. These interviews were then analysed, primarily through Erving Goffman’s theory of self-presentation, Manuel Castells’s theory of identity, and the sociological concept of life-conduct deriving from Max Weber.

The findings provoked both theoretical and empirical conclusions. The theoretical hypothesis is that Castells’s and Goffman’s respective theories should be used as back and front end interpretations of everyday life conduct. The empiric hypothesis provoked is that some OPEs have a strategic (as opposed to a sincere) approach to SNS. These OPEs are experiencing alienation and anomie. To manage this, SNS need to focus more on tools for social communication and less on methods for making SNS ends in and of themselves.
The object of this master’s dissertation has been to investigate one-person enterprisers’ (OPE) experiences of conducting both personal identity and brand at social network sites (SNS). The purposes of this research have been to elaborate on sociological theories of brand and identity in a network society context and to present hypotheses on how SNS can be developed to empower all OPEs.

Since this field is rather unexplored in sociological research, and because it is the experiences of the OPEs that are the focus of the research, ethnographic methods, i.e. qualitative interviews, were chosen. These interviews were then analysed, primarily through Erving Goffman’s theory of self-presentation, Manuel Castells’s theory of identity, and the sociological concept of life-conduct deriving from Max Weber.

The findings provoked both theoretical and empirical conclusions. The theoretical hypothesis is that Castells’s and Goffman’s respective theories should be used as back and front end interpretations of everyday life conduct. The empiric hypothesis provoked is that some OPEs have a strategic (as opposed to a sincere) approach to SNS. These OPEs are experiencing alienation and anomie. To manage this, SNS need to focus more on tools for social communication and less on methods for making SNS ends in and of themselves.

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Published by: Jonas Bååth on Feb 16, 2012
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Jonas Bååth, 850617baath.jonas@gmail.comMaster’s dissertation in Sociology, 30hpDept. of Sociology, Umeå University, HT11Supervisor: Simon Lindgren, Professor, Ph. D.Examiner: Jenny-Ann Brodin Danell, Senior Lecturer, Ph. D.
Conducting the Personal Brand
Sociological investigations on brand and identity for one-personenterprisers at social networks sites
 
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Acknowledgements
First, I would like to thank 
all my interview persons
. Without you thismaster’s dissertation would have been impossible. To my supervisor
Simon Lindgren
, Professor, Ph. D., despite theover 1200 km distance, our computer-mediated communications have beenmost fruitful. To
Simon Rosenqvist
, for proof reading and our never-ending discussions on philosophy and society. To
Pontus Andersson
,
 
for proof reading and for always motivating me to challenge my English proficiency. To
Martin Berg
, Ph. D.,
Klas Gustavsson
, Ph. D., and
Erik Hannerz
, Ph.D. candidate, for your occasional support of my sociological work. You haveno idea how much it has meant to me. To my fellow blogging sociologists at
Sociologerna.se
, for giving me a much needed air vent. Last, but not least: To
Linnéa
– for everything.
 Thank you all!
 
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Abstract
 The object of this master’s dissertation has been to investigate one-personenterprisers’ (OPE) experiences of conducting both personal identity andbrand at social network sites (SNS). The purposes of this research have beento elaborate on sociological theories of brand and identity in a network society context and to present hypotheses on how SNS can be developed toempower all OPEs.Since this field is rather unexplored in sociological research, andbecause it is the experiences of the OPEs that are the focus of the research,ethnographic methods, i.e. qualitative interviews, were chosen. Theseinterviews were then analysed, primarily through Erving Goffman’s theory of self-presentation, Manuel Castells’s theory of identity, and the sociologicalconcept of life-conduct deriving from Max Weber. The findings provoked both theoretical and empirical conclusions. Thetheoretical hypothesis is that Castells’s and Goffman’s respective theoriesshould be used as back and front end interpretations of everyday life conduct. The empiric hypothesis provoked is that some OPEs have a strategic (asopposed to a sincere) approach to SNS. These OPEs are experiencing alienation and anomie. To manage this, SNS need to focus more on tools forsocial communication and less on methods for making SNS ends in and of themselves.Keywords: social media, social network sites, sociology, entrepreneurship,Goffman, Castells, identity, brand, ethnographic methods. Word count: 19990

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