Timelines and Tweets: An Exploration of Nonprofit Social Media Messaging
Johnson, Joanne Patricia
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In a world where the average American spends 23 hours a week communicating with others via email, text messages, or social media, it has become impossible to deny the importance and necessity of maintaining a strong online presence (“Social usage involves more platforms”, 2013). The Internet brought with it the rise of websites, and gave organizations the ability for near-instantaneous sharing of information with their constituents. In recent years, the rise of social media has made the transfer of information from organizations to the public even easier, with the additional bonus of facilitating two-way communication. Social media sites are particularly valuable to nonprofit organizations, as these sites are generally free to use, and virtually anyone who has the ability to use the Internet can access them. While there have been studies conducted that analyze the use of social media by nonprofit organizations, there is still much that can be learned about the most efficient and effective ways for a nonprofit organization to harness the benefits of social media. Through a content analysis of the top 20 nonprofit organizations on Facebook and Twitter, this study provides a better understanding of how nonprofit organizations use social media messages and social media engagement features to effectively and efficiently mobilize support (share information, create community, and call followers to action), establish two-way communication with their followers, and create virtual, global communities in an effort to achieve their organizational mission. The results from this study not only add value to public relations practice but also provide specific direction for continued research on nonprofit use of social media.