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Remediation, Social Media, and  Collective Intelligence
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Remediation, Social Media, and Collective Intelligence


Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are becoming incorporated into …

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are becoming incorporated into
today’s culture and economy changing the way many individuals communicate. Using
insights from Lévy’s (1997) theory of collective intelligence as a lens to understand how
a participatory culture has become empowered through social media is displayed
throughout this study. Bolter and Grusin’s (2000) concept of remediation also serves as
part of the theoretical framework presenting clarity to how social media are changing and
reconfiguring the way communication is enacted and exhibited through different realms
of media. Because social networking sites are still very new in today’s society, there has
been little empirical research published. I have formulated a study using a mixed
qualitative and quantitative methodological approach in order to understand how
nonprofit and for-profit organizations create participation among the users within social
networking sites as well as analyze the remediation effects from utilizing these networks.
This study incorporates focus groups, an in-depth interview, participant observations, a
survey, and t-tests in order to establish connections and triangulate the data to
comprehend how companies find social media effective and useful in their respective

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  • 1. Remediating Communication through Social Media and Forming a Collective Intelligence for Companies and Nonprofits
    By: Heather Burchfield
    This project is part of a larger study.
  • 2. Rationale
    Popularity of social networking sites
    Formation of a global village
    SNS creating a participatory culture
    Noticed business use of social media
    Possibility of refashioning traditional communication
  • 3. Collective Intelligence
    Theoretical Framework
  • 4. Theoretical Framework
    Collective Intelligence
    Pierre Lévy (1997)
    Intelligence shared by a group that is constantly enhancing and contributing to the community
    Simultaneously enrich individuals
    SNS wouldn’t be able to exist without interaction
    Participatory Culture
    The participants are the most vital element of a CI because without them, the aggregation of information wouldn’t be possible.
  • 5. Theoretical Framework Continued
    Bolter and Grusin (2000)
    Refashioning media
    Multiple representations of media in SNS
    Replicates human experience (YouTube)
    Sought through transparency
    Reproduction of reality, remediates the real
    Contact point between medium and what it represents
    Social media’s contact point is emitted messages or media which generates interaction forming a conversation.
  • 6. Literature Review
    Facebook grew 58.9% from June 18, 2008, to January 4, 2009 (Corbett, 2009)
    Banks and Humphreys (2008) noted that many companies feel uneasy giving their consumers more power because the idea of user co-creator and participatory culture is foreign to the customary way business is conducted.
    One of the main aspects of a participatory culture is that the participants must actually produce and not simply consume (Jenkins, 2006).
    Social networking sites have become verbal playgrounds to converse and discuss contributing to an immanent collective intelligence (Frohmann, 2000).
  • 7. Research Questions
    How has the utilization of social networking sites in nonprofit organizations formed a participatory culture, and does that culture establish a collective intelligence?
    How has remediation been depicted through social media by businesses, and have the implemented social media strategies been effective?
  • 8. Methods
    Participant Observation
    Child and family-focused nonprofit
    Before focus group
    Focus Groups
    Both nonprofits
    Volunteer nonprofit
    Before focus group
    Triangulating Methods
  • 9. Participant Observation
    Child and Family-focused Nonprofit
    Spent six-month period
    (June-Nov. 2009)
    Administered and maintained Facebook Fan Page, Cause, and Twitter account
    Promoted organization to virtual community
    Events, volunteers, staff changes, awards
    Formed an analysis about responses, participation & effectiveness of SNS
  • 10. Focus Group
    Both Nonprofits
    Wanted to understand the utilization, participation, and remediation effects seen through social media
    Snowball samples
    Child and Family nonprofit consisted of board and staff members
    Volunteer nonprofit consisted of organization members and officers
  • 11. Survey
    Volunteer Nonprofit
    92 female participants
    Nine-question survey
    Largest general membership meeting
    Women ranging in ages from 24 to 50 participated in the survey.
    Median age was 33
    89.2% had personal Facebook profiles
    9.7% did not have Facebook profiles
  • 12. Findings
    Lack of familiarity and understanding of social media
    Lack of communication
    Saw potential with social media to reach a new donor/member demographic
    Language barrier
    Like being able to stay connected and reconnect with those in their social circles
    Filter information
    Have become self publicists
    Complement traditional media
  • 13. Findings continued
    Volunteer Nonprofit Survey Results
    Cross tabulation
    The first test did not identify evidence of a relationship between having a Facebook profile and awareness of the organization’s Facebook Group (x2=1.16, df=1, p>.05). The members do not have to have a personal Facebook profile in order to be aware of their organization’s Facebook Group.
  • 14. Findings continued
    Volunteer Nonprofit Survey Results
    Pearson’s Correlation
    Individuals who found the Facebook group more personally useful also tended to think that it was relatively more useful to other members of the organization (r=434, p<.05). If a member feels the Facebook Group is useful for them, they are going to think the group is useful to other members.
    Individuals who heard other members mention the Facebook Group more often also tended to find it relatively more personally useful (r=.578, p<.05). The women who did not find the Facebook Group useful did not hear the group mentioned frequently.
    The last correlation showed a significant relationship between how often members heard other members mention the Facebook Group and how useful the women thought other members found the Facebook Group (r=.390, p<.05). Since this relationship is positive, the members who heard others mention the Facebook Group more frequently also felt that those members found the Facebook Group more useful, but the members who did not hear the Facebook Group mentioned as regularly surmised that the group was not as useful to others.
  • 15. Findings continued
    Volunteer Nonprofit Survey Results
    There showed to be a significance among those who were aware of the Facebook Group and the frequency in which members heard others mention the Facebook Group (t=-9.013, df=43.49, p<.05).
    There showed to be significance among those who were a part of the Facebook Group and how often someone heard other members mention the volunteer organization’s Facebook Group (t=-3.45, df=66.68, p<.05).
    There was no perceived significance among those who were members of the Facebook Group and how useful the organization’s members thought the Facebook Group was to others (t=.150, df=61.27, p>.05).
  • 16. Discussion
    While a complete collective intelligence may not be apparent among the nonprofits, they understand and are aware of the potential social media could have for their organizations.
    Networks like Facebook are rapidly building community and establishing relationships.
    These nonprofits realized that there was a significant audience using these online tools that they would want to reach, but in order for the groups to be effective with their social media efforts, learning to listen, communicate, and be transparent about their organization is a must.
    The two organizations are also aware that social media have complemented and are even remediating other forms of media, but they feel that social networking sites have not replaced mainstream communication outlets at this point.
    Just because someone is aware of a nonprofit’s social media presence doesn’t mean they are engaged and interact with them in the virtual realm.
  • 17. Future Research
    To complement this research, t-tests should have been performed to compare Web site traffic before social media efforts were in place and six months after they were in place.
    More research needs to be done on this topic
    Study larger nonprofit organizations with more resources
    Research for-profit companies