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Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world
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Speaking and being heard: How nonprofit advocacy organizations gain attention in the social media world

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Slides from presentation at ANSER/ARES Conference, Brock University, St Catharines, ON, May 30, 2014. …

Slides from presentation at ANSER/ARES Conference, Brock University, St Catharines, ON, May 30, 2014.

ABSTRACT: Social media offer an alternative broadcast and communication medium for nonprofit advocacy organizations. Yet the social media era also ushers in an increasingly “noisy” information environment that renders it more difficult for any given organization to make its voice heard. How then can an organization gain attention on social media? We address this question by building and testing a model of the effectiveness of the Twitter use of advocacy organizations. Using number of retweets and number of favorites as proxies of attention, we test our hypotheses with a 12-month panel dataset that collapses by month and organization the 219,915 tweets sent by 145 organizations in 2013. We find that attention is strongly associated with the size of an organization’s network, its frequency of speech, and the number of conversations it joins. We also find a seemingly contradictory relationship between different measures of attention and an organization’s targeting and connecting strategy.

For full copy of paper please contact the authors at http://social-metrics.org

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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  • In other words, how can nonprofits rise above the swamp of information through creativity and ingenuity, and how can they turn that attention into action?
  • We know nonprofit organizations are using social media to engage in advocacy work. But we don’t know how they are doing it.
  • Hypotheses – Network Characteristics
    H1: The level of attention an organization receives will be positively associated with the number of followers the organization has.
    Hypotheses – Communication Strategy
    Timing and Pacing.
    H2: The level of attention an organization receives will be positively associated with the number of tweets sent by the organization.
    Targeting and Connecting Strategy.
    H3: The level of attention an organization receives will be positively associated with the number of public reply messages sent by the organization.
    H4a: The level of attention an organization receives will be positively associated with the number of the organization’s tweets that are retweets of other users’ tweets.
    H4b: …with the number of hashtags.
    H4c: …with the number of URLs
    H4d: …with the number of user mentions
    Visual Content
    H5a,b,c: inclusion of photo; photo link; video link
  • Charity Navigator, America's leading independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of 6,000 of America's largest charities.  
    To be eligible for evaluation, an organization must be 501(c)(3), have at least four consecutive years of IRS Forms 990 available, and receive public support greater than $500,000 and total revenue more than $1,000,000 in the most recent fiscal year.
    Excluded are charities that report zero fundraising costs or that receive most of their funding from government grants or fees for services.
    DATA AND METHOD
    Three sets of analyses
    Ordinary OLS
    One-way fixed-effects
    Two-way fixed-effects
  • There seems to be a magic number: 200?
  • There seems to be a magic number: 200?
  • A small # of followers appears to seriously hamper an organization's ability to garner attention, no matter the content of the tweet.
    The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a Scientology front group which campaigns against psychiatry and psychiatrists. CCHR follows the Scientology doctrine that psychiatrists ('psychs') are the primary cause of evil in society. CCHR also blames psychiatry for school shootings, the 9/11 attacks on America, the German Holocaust, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, etc.
    Public Reply Messages (aka Direct Messages, @ messages) are not good at drawing attention. However, Direct messages do serve other purposes -- esp. dialogue and responsiveness). After your relationship with these users grow over time, every once in a while you can ask them to retweet some of my tweets. And because they have a ton of followers, that tweet also gets retweeted a handful of times.
  • This goes beyond just 'celebrity fishing' within discrete messages. There appear to be other generalizable actions taken to link the organization's message to broader networks (with celebrity mentions, celebrity RTs, hashtags, etc.)
    Dianna Agron ‏@DiannaAgron has nearly 15 million followers. Ellen DeGeneres ‏@TheEllenShow has over 16 million followers. Obama has over 27 million followers.
  • This goes beyond just 'celebrity fishing' within discrete messages. There appear to be other generalizable actions taken to link the organization's message to broader networks (with celebrity mentions, celebrity RTs, hashtags, etc.)
    Dianna Agron ‏@DiannaAgron has nearly 15 million followers. Ellen DeGeneres ‏@TheEllenShow has over 16 million followers. Obama has over 27 million followers.
  • indirect advocacy tactics (e.g., public education, grassroots lobbying)
  • Transcript

    • 1. SpeakingSpeaking andand being heardbeing heard:: how advocacy organizationS gainhow advocacy organizationS gain attention in the Social media worldattention in the Social media world Chao Guo University of Pennsylvania Gregory D. Saxton University at Buffalo May 30, 2014
    • 2. Causal Framework
    • 3. Data and Method  Our sample comprises 145 “Civil Rights and Advocacy” organizations rated by Charity Navigator in 2011.  We test our hypotheses with a 12-month panel dataset—this organization-month level dataset collapses by month and organization the 219,915 tweets that were sent by the 145 organizations over the entire 12 months of 2013.
    • 4. # of Tweets sent each month by the AARP Foundation
    • 5. Findings: Who Gets Attention?  Size of the network matters  The average number of followers for the 250 tweets with no retweets: 5,160  The average number of followers for the 250 tweets with the most retweets: 63,279  A small # of followers (then the amount you tweet does not matter)  Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)  <900 followers, 4 friends, 0 retweets.
    • 6. Findings (cont’d): Who Gets Attention?  Volume (or frequency) of speech matters  Speaking – Show your presence.  A lot of LGBT messages, e.g., gay marriage, GLAAD, The Trevor Project, etc.
    • 7. Findings (cont’d): Who Gets Attention?  Targeting & connecting strategy matters:  Targeting  Public Reply Messages  e.g., “@joeymygod Thanks for the RT!”  Connecting – build alliances.  Retweeting other people’s messages.  Hashtags (#anser2014) – connecting to topics  URLs (hyperlinks)  User mentions
    • 8. Findings (cont’d): Who Gets Attention?  Visual content matters:  Photos  Link to photos  Link to videos
    • 9. Expected Number of Retweets Received at Various Levels of Tweeting, Retweeting, and Tagging Activity

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