Social media and organizations

Authored by: Pauline Leonard

The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415783675
eBook ISBN: 9780203725610
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005474


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This chapter explores the use of social media and the Web in the making of organizational visual identities and practices. I draw on ongoing empirical research 1 to focus on the ways in which social media are stretching understandings of the visual in organizations and extending paradigms of identity construction and meaning-making. In particular, I focus on a case study of the use of YouTube to argue that social media are influencing an organizational rethink on visual practices, as well as relationships with clients. Increasingly, as contemporary organizations are reshaping into ‘org/borgs’ (Haraway 1991; Consalvo 2003), their use of social media is contributing to a blurring of, and even a challenge to, previously established boundaries in organizational practices, positions and identities. Yet, while on the one hand, the democratic nature of these digital tools can be read as opening up directions of communicative flow and power and, as such, flattening relations; on the other hand, I argue that social media may, in fact, be additional forms of social and cultural capital by which organizations compete for relative advantage within organizational fields (Bourdieu 1984; Bennett et al. 2009).

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