‘This is a stage’: A study of public relations practitioners’ imagined online audiences

Justin A. Walden, Joshua M. Parcha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Public relations (PR) practitioners are among those cultural intermediaries who privilege symbols, products, and communication rituals in society. Through interviews (n = 26) and analysis of practitioners’ Twitter accounts, this study considers how members of this field identify their personal social networking site audiences and how these behaviors are implicated in the performance of their online identity. Findings indicate practitioners feel pressure to use personal social media in accordance with field-constrained norms and that an “occupational publicness” pressure requires them to be visible online outside of the workplace. The persistent specter of public criticism from audiences and the prioritizing of organizational interests above their own self-expression limits performances of PR practitioners’ authentic selves online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing


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