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Using Social Media in Public Communication

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Felicia Song & Masudul Biswas, Louisiana State University. Sea Grant Week 2010

Felicia Song & Masudul Biswas, Louisiana State University. Sea Grant Week 2010

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  • FWS: Thank you – Introductions (sociology / mass comm)
  • FWS: Web 2.0- sns (facebook, myspace), blogs & microblog tools (Twitter), Flickr & YouTube, wikis, podcasts What makes them different from Web 1.0– traditional websites with discussion forums, emails/list-servs?
  • MB--Tell that H1N1 flu is the first pandemic of the century. Transition after first bullet – to explain why is this study done? Rationale. Transition after third bullet – switch to emergency communication context and potentials of social media tools during emergency communication.
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  • MB: Web-promotion message (will explain) is a derived message category used in this study. It refers to the messages conveying web-based communication services about H1N1-related information, e.g. podcasting, video, PSA, press briefing transcripts, social media tools, and web briefings posted on the official website. MAKE THIS POINT IN THE NEXT SLIDE WHEN COMPARING: Only the CDC about H1N1 flu via separate Twitter (CDC e-Health) and Facebook. MOVE THIS TO THE NEXT SLIDE: Two additional observations: The CDC and WHO got more users of their Twitter pages than Facebook pages. The CDC posted more messages (posts) on their Facebook page than the WHO.
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  • MB: Effective use will depend on the purposes of using social media. Re. Interaction: Facebook and blogs can be two other platforms for interaction. Also monitoring related tweets of followers and SEA Grant issue-related “search” results.
  • FWS

Using Social Media in Public Communication Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Felicia Song & Masudul Biswas Louisiana State University
  • 2. Social Media & New Communication Potentials
    • User-generated content
    • Networking capacity
    • Interactivity
  • 3. Social Media Use Today
    • About 73% of American teens and young adults, and 40% of adults aged over 30 used social networking sites in 2009 (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010).
    • SNS users ages 50 and over have nearly-doubled from 22% in 2009 to 42% in 2010 (Madden, 2010).
    • Nearly 1 in 5 Internet users is using Twitter or another service to share & see personal and business updates. (October 2009)
  • 4. Nuances in the Digital Divides
    • Who is online?
    • From 2000 - 2010, internet users who are black or Latino has nearly doubled—from 11% to 21%. BUT, language, economic disadvantage, and conditions of access still matter.
  • 5. Nuances in the Digital Divides
    • Of those who are online…
    • Digital access is increasingly mobile, especially for people of color (70% are texting)
    • Nearly ½ of black internet users go to a social networking site on a typical day (vs. just 1/3 of white internet users)
    • 25% of online African-Americans use Twitter & other status update services (vs. 15% of white internet users)
  • 6. ROLES OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN PANDEMIC COMMUNICATION: A STUDY
    • The study examined the use of social networking sites by the CDC and the WHO in the context of the H1N1 flu outbreak
    • It compared (1) types of messages; (2) relationships to message trends on official websites; and (3) levels of interaction with users
  • 7. POTENTIALS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
    • Quick & live communication
    • Widget compatible and simultaneously accessible on and from multiple platforms
    • Allows users to interact within network
    • Pushes web traffic to official web sites/web pages
  • 8. STUDY SAMPLE
    • Content analysis of Twitter updates, Facebook posts, and official website posts/ messages.
    • 243 Twitter updates, 251 Facebook messages and comments, and 222 web site posts disseminated by CDC and WHO, April - July, 2009.
    • Twitter pages : CDCflu, CDCemergency, CDC_eHealth, whonews Facebook pages: CDC and WHO
  • 9. FINDINGS
    • Types of message content about H1N1 on Twitter, Facebook, and official websites - I nvestigation or diagnosis
    • - Preventive and safety measure - Treatment issues - Situation updates
    • - “web-promotion” messages
  • 10. FINDINGS
    • Differences between CDC and WHO usage?
    • WHO: more situation update-related messages on both Twitter and Facebook pages CDC: the CDCflu and CDCemergency posted more messages on situation updates on Twitter pages, and more messages on preventive and safety issues on their Facebook page.
    • Twitter page CDC_eHealth mainly posted web-promotion messages.
  • 11. FINDINGS
    • Did Twitter and Facebook pages reflect the message- focus of the official websites? WHO
    • - Message postings on Twitter and Facebook pages reflected messaging trends of their official website. - The official website posted more situation updates than messages on investigation, prevention and safety, and treatment.
  • 12. FINDINGS
    • Did Twitter and Facebook pages reflect the message- focus of the official websites? CDC
    • - The Facebook page reflected the messaging trend of the official website and posted more messages on prevention and safety than other messages. - BUT the combination of three Twitter pages posted more situation updates than other four types of messages.
  • 13. FINDINGS
    • Did CDC and WHO use Facebook and Twitter for interactivity?
    • Facebook
    • -CDC and WHO did not directly interact or exchange messages with Facebook users.
    • -But Facebook users interacted with other users on the H1N1 flu situation on Facebook pages of the CDC and the WHO.
  • 14. FINDINGS
    • Did CDC and WHO use Facebook and Twitter for interactivity?
    • Twitter
    • - CDC only shared or re-tweeted the messages from government organizations and other CDC Twitter pages. They did not react to messages of other Twitter users on Twitter.
    • - WHO also did not interact with other Twitter users.
  • 15. Conclusions & Assumptions
    • Social media function as supportive tools for website-based interventions during a case of outbreak communication, requiring speedy and constant dissemination of essential messages to address situational uncertainty .
    • Both CDC and WHO avoided any engagement or interaction , particularly involving unconfirmed information.
    • The structure of Twitter is more effective in avoiding rumor and misinformation than Facebook in pandemic or emergency situations.
  • 16. Effective use of Facebook & Twitter Facebook Twitter Educational (in combination with YouTube/podcasting/an online discussion forum) Interaction/Participation Promoting website content Routine & Emergency Updates Monitoring / Crowdsourcing Networking & Creating Lists Promoting website content Promoting researchers (encouraging researchers to tweet) Separate Twitter page for news media
  • 17. Conclusion: Questions to Address
    • Who is your audience?
    • What is your purpose of communication?
    • What is the nature of your message content?
  • 18. Social Media Strategies/Planning Issues Oil spill, Seafood safety, rip currents, beaches Nature of Communication Routine OR emergency/ crisis? Identifying Audiences/Publics Priority OR Target external publics? Active OR Passive external publics? Planning & Developing Messages
    • Informative (research-based OR situational?)
    • Participatory (for the purpose of idea generation)
    • Gathering and monitoring public perception/opinion on SEA Grant-related issues