Bakers of Instagram: An exploratory study of knowledge exchange, collaboration and innovation in the craft baking community
This dissertation explores how the social media platform Instagram is used by a community of bakers working in small-scale craft bakeries in the UK for knowledge sharing, collaboration and innovation. The background of this research was derived from an interdisciplinary review of the literature, the researcher's personal experience working in small-scale bakeries and the identification of a significant gap in published research in the area of professional-to-professional use of Instagram. Building on social theory and the existing research on social media and drawing on literature from sociology, business innovation, education, and social media studies; a qualitative methodology was employed to conduct this research, with eight in-depth semi structured interviews conducted with participants from six regions across the UK. The interviews produced ten hours of rich data that was thematically coded and analysed. Four interconnected themes emerged from the analysis regarding bakers’ use of Instagram: informal learning and knowledge seeking; collaboration and reciprocity; community and online/offline friendships; and inspiration and innovation. The majority of bakers in this study were initially motivated to use Instagram as a means to seek out knowledge and develop their baking skills. Stemming from this use of Instagram for learning, collaborations were developed and a sense of reciprocity for sharing was established within this community. Furthermore, it was found that Instagram is frequently used as a source of inspiration and the introduction of new ideas, techniques and processes.