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Self-presentation, privacy and electronic word-of-mouth in social media

Oleksandra Pasternak (University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, Glasgow, UK)
Cleopatra Veloutsou (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Anna Morgan-Thomas (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 17 July 2017




This study aims to explore the nature of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) and the key drivers of this consumer-generated brand communication, focusing on eWOM in the context of social media communications.


The study uses inductive qualitative design, and the data have been collected via 22 semi-structured interviews with individuals who follow brands on Facebook.


Building on interview data, the paper advances a conception of eWOM in the social media context and highlights that eWOM consists of a broad range of brand-related communications, which include such activities as consuming, commenting, posting and forwarding information. The study also uncovers two major antecedents of eWOM, which are one’s concern for self-presentation and privacy.

Research limitations/implications

Further research could examine additional drivers of brand-related eWOM in the context of Facebook brand pages, and investigate eWOM in other social media platforms.

Practical implications

The findings have two important implications for brand management. Firstly, considering the importance of self-presentation, brands are advised to develop an in-depth understanding of the types of self-image pursued by their target audience. Secondly, given the concerns about privacy on social media, brands may carefully consider and manage the levels of privacy that should apply when communicating with their followers.


The novel insights centre on the individual differences in eWOM activity, and the importance of one’s perceptions of self-image and privacy in explaining these differences. It seems that the propensity to engage in eWOM and the form that this communication takes are the reflections of one’s self-presentation and privacy preferences.



Pasternak, O., Veloutsou, C. and Morgan-Thomas, A. (2017), "Self-presentation, privacy and electronic word-of-mouth in social media", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 415-428.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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