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Personal online reputations: Managing what you can’t control

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This talk for the 5th annual Discover Academic Research, Training, and Support (DARTS) conference discusses the role of online information in the building, management, and evaluation of personal reputation. It considers the existing literature surrounding reputation and social media use, as well as some early findings from Frances’ information science doctoral investigation on the same topics. A short interactive element encourages participants to think about their own social media use, online information behaviours, and digital footprints—as well as some practical advice on managing a reputation that you can’t fully control.

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Personal online reputations: Managing what you can’t control

  1. 1. Presented by Frances VC Ryan Edinburgh Napier University Centre for Social Informatics “Personal online reputations: Managing what you can’t control” DARTS5 Conference: Discover Academic Research, Training, and Support 2nd June 2016, Dartington Hall, Totnes, England f.ryan@napier.ac.uk | @cleverfrances | www.JustAPhD.com
  2. 2. Overview of presentation  Research themes and questions  Literature review  Theoretical framework  Methods of investigation  Early findings  Next steps  Discussion
  3. 3. What’s the research about? How online information contributes to the building, maintenance, and evaluation of personal reputations ― Personal reputation: Private individuals, rather than corporate identity and brand Two broad research themes: (1) The means by which people evaluate or assess the personal reputations of others from the online evidence available to them (2) How people manage their own personal reputations through their use of online information, and to what extent those behaviours are intentional
  4. 4. OK, but what does that mean? © Frances Ryan
  5. 5. The research questions  How do individuals build identities for themselves online?  How do individuals use online information to build and manage their reputations?  How do individuals evaluate the identities and reputations of others based on the online information available to them?  To what extent do individuals actively practise identity and reputation building and evaluation online?
  6. 6. Where’s the literature found? (Almost) Everywhere!  Information science  Everyday life information seeking (ELIS)  Citation analysis  Computing  Employment research  Human-computer interaction  Human resources management  Information systems  Management and organisational studies  Marketing  Media and communication studies  Physical and mental health
  7. 7.  Created by the individual that the identity represents – and others  Different presentations of self for different audiences  “Representations of self/selves” that individuals create for or about themselves Key terms: Identity
  8. 8. Key terms: Reputation  Everyone has (at least) one!  Determined by others based on the information available to them  The personal opinions and character judgements one individual has for another
  9. 9. Key terms: “Real world”  Blurred lines  Intentional transfer of offline activities to online environments  Trading information for online conveniences  If you’re not online, are you real?
  10. 10. Key themes in the literature  Information sharing  Information quality and accuracy  Employment and career opportunities  Friends and friends-of-friends  “Real names”, pseudonyms, and anonymity
  11. 11. What does the literature tell us? Employers conduct social media reviews pre- and post- employment
  12. 12. What does the literature tell us? Friends and friends-of- friends can impact reputation
  13. 13. What does the literature tell us? “Real names” and anonymity are key debates
  14. 14. At least some self-regulation and censorship by individuals What does the literature tell us?
  15. 15. Mind the gap! (1)  To what extent are individuals evaluating the reputations of others based on the information found about them online?  What processes do individuals follow to identify and collect online information about others?  How is online information about individuals rated, assessed, or validated for the purposes of reputation evaluation?  To what extent does the quality of information collected impact the determination of individuals’ reputations?
  16. 16. Mind the gap! (2)  How do individuals manage online information regarding their combined professional and private reputations?  How do individuals manage their online and offline reputations as one “real world” reputation?  To what extent do individuals feel more or less free or restricted because of the blurred lines between their online and offline worlds?  To what extent do individuals actively monitor their online footprints for the purpose of reputation management? If so, how and to what extent?
  17. 17.  How do people relate to, seek, and use information? (Bates, 1999, p. 6)  How do we handle ideas and knowledge, both our own and other people’s? (Howkins, 2009, p. 1) Alignment with some “big questions”
  18. 18. Developing a theoretical framework for empirical work Difficult: What literature should be considered? 1. General materials related to research themes across many domains (e.g. Human resources, marketing, information systems, physical and mental health) 2. Specific material on academic reputations evident in citation analysis 3. Contextual material from everyday life information seeking (ELIS) studies
  19. 19. Developing a theoretical framework for empirical work Difficult: Which literature should be considered? 1. General materials related to research themes across many domains (e.g. Human resources, marketing, information systems, physical and mental health) 2. Specific material on academic reputations evident in citation analysis 3. Contextual material from everyday life information seeking (ELIS) studies Lots of options: - Quantitative - Qualitative
  20. 20. Developing a theoretical framework for empirical work Difficult: Which literature should be considered? 1. General materials related to research themes across many domains (e.g. Human resources, marketing, information systems, physical and mental health) 2. Specific material on academic reputations evident in citation analysis 3. Contextual material from everyday life information seeking (ELIS) studies Mostly Quantitative
  21. 21. Developing a theoretical framework for empirical work Difficult: Which literature should be considered? 1. General materials related to research themes across many domains (e.g. Human resources, marketing, information systems, physical and mental health) 2. Specific material on academic reputations evident in citation analysis 3. Contextual material from everyday life information seeking (ELIS) studies Largely Qualitative
  22. 22. How best to investigate both research themes?  The challenge? Establishing a way to examine both research themes simultaneously  Qualitative methods deemed most appropriate  Semi-structured, in-depth interviews to discuss participants’ own practices  Answering questions on evaluation of others proved more difficult  Four potential solutions …
  23. 23. Option 1: Profile mock-ups  Create false user profiles  Information mimics situations from literature  Participants review mock-ups  Interviews to discuss how reputations are evaluated
  24. 24. Option 2: Participant screen shots  Screen shots of participants’ online profiles  Others evaluate the reputations of each other based on the screen shots  Interviews to discuss how reputations are evaluated © Frances Ryan
  25. 25. Option 3: Observation  Participants discuss evaluation of others during interview  Participants interacting with social media accounts with interviewer present  Ethical issues regarding consent from participants’ connections
  26. 26. Option 4: Diaries and interviews  Participants keep diary for one week  Simple instructions regarding what to write about  No formatting guidelines  After diary, participants take part in a semi-structured interview
  27. 27. Best option: Diaries and interviews  Tradition in everyday life information seeking (ELIS) research  Rich data are reliable sources of information and eliminate the potential for inaccurate reporting (Narayan, Case, & Edwards, 2011, p. 3)  Several studies use a combination of diary-keeping and interviews (Agosto & Hughes-Hassell, 2005; Dervin, 1983; McKenzie, 2003; Rieh, 2004)  Although studies vary, they share a common theme: combining the robustness of two forms of data
  28. 28. How did the diary work?  Participants kept diary for one week  Simple instructions; no formatting guidelines  Got participants thinking about their information behaviours  Diaries helped form interview guides
  29. 29. Collecting the data  Sample of 45 UK-based participants  Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby boomers  Short background survey  Diary for one week (electronic or hand-written)  One-hour semi-structured interviews (face-to-face or Skype)
  30. 30.  Social media an extension of everyday lives  Varying levels self-censorship behaviours  Deleting posts  Intentional practices based on platform use  Managing “the blur” Generation X: Early findings
  31. 31.  Difficult to convey evaluations of others  Negative views when opinions are in stark contrast to their own  Conflicting views on anonymous accounts and pseudonyms used by others  More forgiving or lenient when known in an offline environment Generation X: Early findings
  32. 32. Progress and next steps  Pilot study completed  Main empirical work in progress  Data analysis  Thesis write-up  Doctor Ryan  Main empirical work  Sample of 45+ participants  Gen Y, Gen X, and Boomers  Data analysis  Thesis write-up
  33. 33. Indicative bibliography Ausloos, J. (2012). The “Right to be forgotten”: Worth remembering? Computer Law & Security Review, 28(2), 143–152. doi:10.1016/j.clsr.2012.01.006 Bates, M. J. (1999). The invisible substrate of information science. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50(12), 1043–1050. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(1999)50:12<1043::AID-ASI1>3.3.CO;2-O Cronin, B. & Askins, H.B. (2000). The web of knowledge: a festschrift in honor of Eugene Garfield. Medford, NJ: Information Today Duguay, S. (2014). “He has a way gayer Facebook than I do”: Investigating sexual identity disclosure and context collapse on a social networking site. New Media & Society, 1–17. doi:10.1177/1461444814549930 Fieseler, C., Meckel, M., & Ranzini, G. (2014). Professional personae: How organizational identification shapes online identity in the workplace. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 1–18. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12103 Finocchiaro, G. & Ricci, A. (2013). Quality of information, the right to oblivion, and digital reputation. In B. Custers, T. Calders, B. Schermer, & T. Zarsky (Eds.), Discrimination and Privacy in the Information Society (Vol. 3, pp. 289–299). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-30487-3 Greidanus, E. & Everall, R. D. (2010). Helper therapy in an online suicide prevention community. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 38(2), 191–204. doi:10.1080/03069881003600991 Howkins, J. (2009). Creative ecologies: Where thinking is a proper job. St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press. Kluemper, D. H. & Rosen, P. A. (2009). Future employment selection methods: Evaluating social networking web sites. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 24(6), 567–580. doi:10.1108/02683940910974134 Lingel, J. & boyd, d. (2013). “Keep it secret, keep it safe”: Information poverty, information norms, and stigma. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(5), 981–991. doi:10.1002/asi.22800 Madera, J. M. (2012). Using social networking websites as a selection tool: The role of selection process fairness and job pursuit intentions. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31(4), 1276–1282. doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2012.03.008 Mesch, G. S. & Beker, G. (2010). Are norms of disclosure of online and offline personal information associated with the disclosure of personal information online? Human Communication Research, 36(4), 570–592. doi:10.1111/j.1468- 2958.2010.01389.x
  34. 34. Ollier-Malaterre, A., Rothbard, N. P., & Berg, J. M. (2013). When worlds collide in cyberspace: How boundary work in online social networks impacts professional relationships. Academy of Management Review, 38(4), 645–669. doi:10.5465/amr.2011.0235 Savolainen, R. (2008). Everyday information practices: a social phenomenological perspective. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. Uski, S. & Lampinen, A. (2014). Social norms and self-presentation on social network sites: Profile work in action. New Media & Society, 1–18. doi:10.1177/1461444814543164 Vaast, E. (2007). Playing with masks: Fragmentation and continuity in the presentation of self in an occupational online forum. Information Technology & People, 20(4), 334–351. doi:10.1108/09593840710839789 Van Dijck, J. (2013). “You have one identity”: Performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2), 199–215. doi:10.1177/0163443712468605 Copyright attributions Indicative bibliography (cont.) Slide 8: Creative commons copyright (1) José Luís Agapito (www.flickr.com/blvesboy); (2) Red Rose Exile (www.flickr.com/redroseexile); (3) Stefano Mortellaro (www.flickr.com/fazen) Slide 9 and 32: Creative commons copyright (1) Martin Tews (www.flickr.com/airpark); (2) Sarah Reid (www.flickr.com/sarahreido) Slide 15 and 31: Creative commons copyright Horatio3K (www.flickr.com/horatio3k) Slide 24: Creative commons copyright (1) WireframeSketcher (wireframesketcher.com/mockups) (2) PitchStock (www.behance.net) Slide 26: Creative commons copyright Jason Jenkins (www.flickr.com/jdub1980) All other images copyright Frances VC Ryan
  35. 35. Thank you! f.ryan@napier.ac.uk @cleverfrances www.JustAPhD.com Slides available at: www.slideshare.net/justfrances

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