‘Self Online Display’ as a Marketing Strategy of Sales Job: A Case Study of Hong Kong Life Insurance Agents’ Online Presentation on We-Chat Moments

Shengnan Jiang

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstractpeer-review


'Self-online display' refers to the visible behavior of individuals sharing pictures, videos, music, links, and other multimedia resources through online personal homepages (or channels) to show their self-image, emotions, and life and work status. This paper explains how salespersons make the online "self-display" become a part of their sales work. Through the intersections application of dramaturgical theory and emotional work concept in the digital context, this paper presents the commercialization process of people's online performances. Based on three months' online observation on We-Chat Moments and complemented by eight in-depth interviews, the data suggests that life insurance agents are using social platforms to display appropriate self-images and emotions online. They are keen to claim that performing these processed self-images and emotions is highly consistent with their offline practice, aiming to bring 'nonaggressive professionalism,' 'genuine self,' and 'positive self' to a broader community. Besides, these virtual displays are guiding life insurance agents to reinvent their offline selves and transform them online in effect. By continuously and purposefully displaying in an online community, the familiarity and presence could be improved. By maintaining consistency between the online display and offline practice, their credibility is gradually established. The complementary self online display and offline practice process ultimately generated their self-brands, which are conducive to attracting potential clients and keeping good customers—interpersonal relationships, especially long-distance ones. As an exemplification of the cross-application of two classic self-presentation theories, this study will contribute to extending Goffman's dramaturgical theory and concept of emotional work to digital context.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 22nd Annual Conference: Global Crises, Alternative Futures - Face-to-face & Online, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Duration: 8 Jan 20228 Jan 2022


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 22nd Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryHong Kong


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