“Influencers” or “Doctors”? Physicians’ Presentation of Self in YouTube and Facebook Videos

Noha Atef, Alice Fleerackers, Juan Pablo Alperin


Despite growing interest in doctors’ use of social media, little is known about how medical professionals want to appear before online audiences. This multi-method qualitative study fills this gap by analyzing the self-presentation of 12 Egyptian medical doctors who create health-related video blogs (vlogs) on YouTube and Facebook. We pair in-depth interviews and focus group data with a critical discourse analysis of 48 vlogs to investigate how these physicians construct their images as both health professionals (doctors) and content makers (influencers). In doing so, we rely on Goffman’s dramaturgical approach to examine the “faces” they wear in their vlogs and the strategies they use to manage when and how each face is perceived. We find that participants present themselves through four faces: approachable, knowledgeable, pedagogical, and popular. Their self-presentation appears to be a negotiation between two roles: part influencer, or social media content creator, and part doctor, or health service provider.


impression management, YouTube, doctors, influencers, social media, health communication

Full Text: