Research Output
Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online
  Results are reported from a study that investigated patterns of information behaviour and use as related to personal reputation building and management in online environments. An everyday life information seeking (ELIS) perspective was adopted. Data were collected by diary and interview from forty-five social media users who hold professional and managerial work roles, and who are users of Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn. These data were first transcribed, then coded with NVivo10 according to themes identified from a preliminary literature review, with further codes added as they emerged from the content of the participant diaries and interviews. The main findings reveal that the portrayal of different personas online contribute to the presentation (but not the creation) of identity, that information sharing practices for reputation building and management vary according to social media platform, and that the management of online connections and censorship are important to the protection of reputation. The maintenance of professional reputation is more important than private reputation to these users. They are aware of the 'blur' between professional and private lives in online contexts, and the influence that it bears on efforts to manage an environment where LinkedIn is most the useful of the three sites considered, and Facebook the most risky. With its novel focus on the 'whole self', this work extends understandings of the impact of information on the building and management of reputation from an Information Science perspective.

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  • Date:

    13 May 2018

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  • Library of Congress:

    Z665 Library Science. Information Science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    020 Library & information sciences

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Ryan, F. V., Cruickshank, P., Hall, H., & Lawson, A. (2020). Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 52(1), 16-26.



everyday life information seeking, information behaviour and use, identity, information sharing, personas, reputation building, reputation management, social media

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