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Sacrificing self for social change: The identity, reputation and privacy implications of online communication by millennial social entrepreneurs

posted on 2023-09-07, 05:13 authored by Faith Cole

Millennial social entrepreneurs are a unique emerging group of changemakers that are dedicated to creating sustainable social impact through their ventures. Many millennial social entrepreneurs use social media platforms to present themselves, promote their social enterprises, engage with their networks and become more visible. However, there is an inherent conflict between visibility and vulnerability when communicating online. This research explores how millennial social entrepreneurs conceptualize identity, reputation and privacy, highlighting how they navigate the tension between visibility and vulnerability. Through grounded theory methodology, this dissertation focused on the insights of thirty-four changemakers stemming from various fields, backgrounds, and levels of success. The overarching findings showed that 1) Identity occurs on a spectrum of curation, 2) Reputation is based on the perception of curated identity, in which the more an individual’s identity is curated, the more an individual’s reputation is able to be managed, 3) Millennial social entrepreneurs negotiate privacy daily through their curated content. The majority of social entrepreneurs choose visibility despite vulnerability in order to further their social mission.



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Electronic thesis available to American University authorized users only, per author's request.; Degree Awarded: Ph.D. School of Communication. American University


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