Roles and digital identities on Twitter and Instagram: An ethnographic study of Chilean journalists

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2 Scopus citations


On the basis of a digital ethnography and in-depth interviews with Chilean journalists, this study analyzes how news professionals reinterpret and redefine their professional roles on Twitter and Instagram through their practices and discourse, building different digital identities. The results of our analyses show that Twitter and Instagram strengthen and render a more complex construction of journalists’ digital selves, allowing them to build a multi-dimensional identity that goes beyond the framework defined by the media in which they work through the performance of emerging and more traditional roles: (1) the service role becomes a resource for creating community-oriented identities and for helping to resolve individuals’ everyday challenges; (2) the celebrity role supports the construction of an identity that plays with distances and social status, distinguishing and differentiating the journalist from others; (3) the promoter role allows them to promote their work and that of their media outlets as well as products and services, which generates a material benefit and gives the practices an instrumental meaning; and (4) the joker role allows them to entertain the audience and engage in a playful and critical way of observing the world through humor, irony, and sarcasm. Journalists make these roles compatible and decide which they want to use depending on their target audience and the specific platform used, validating certain practices and media strategies. In the case of Twitter, we observe a reinterpretation of traditional practices, and on Instagram we found a clearer redefinition of journalistic roles.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere310414
JournalProfesional de la Informacion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 11 Jul 2022


  • Celebrity
  • Digital identity
  • Instagram
  • Joker
  • Journalism
  • Journalistic identity
  • Journalistic roles
  • Journalists
  • Promoter
  • Social media
  • Social networks
  • Twitter


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