• Facebook for Professors: Academia.edu and the Converging Logics of Social Media and Academic Self-Branding

    Author(s):
    Duffy Brooke Erin, Jefferson Pooley (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Subject(s):
    Academe, Academic labor, Digital media, Scholarly communication
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    academia.edu, open access, Open Scholarship, scholarly communication, social media
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M61327
    Abstract:
    Given widespread labor-market precarity, contemporary workers—especially those in the media and creative industries—are increasingly called upon to brand themselves. As universities become progressively more market-driven, academics are experiencing a parallel pressure to engage in self-promotional practices. Academia.edu, a paper-sharing social network that has been informally dubbed “Facebook for academics,” has grown rapidly by adopting many of the conventions of popular social-media sites. This paper argues that the widespread uptake of Academia.edu both reflects and amplifies the self-branding imperatives that many academics experience. Drawing on the Academia.edu’s corporate history, design decisions, and marketing communications, we analyze two overlapping facets of Academia.edu: (1) the site’s business model; (2) its social affordances. We contend that the company, like mainstream social networks, harnesses the content and immaterial labor of users under the guise of “sharing.” In addition, the site’s fixation on analytics reinforces a culture of incessant self-monitoring, one already encouraged by university policies to measure quantifiable impact. We conclude by identifying the stakes for academic life, when entrepreneurial and self-promotional demands brush up against the university's knowledge-making ideals.
    Notes:
    Pre-print of paper accepted for publication at Social Media+Society.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial

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