Remediation, Social Media, and Collective Intelligence


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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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Remediation, Social Media, and Collective Intelligence

  1. 1. Remediating Communication through Social Media and Forming a Collective Intelligence for Companies and Nonprofits<br />By: Heather Burchfield<br />This project is part of a larger study.<br />
  2. 2. Rationale<br />Popularity of social networking sites<br />Formation of a global village<br />SNS creating a participatory culture<br />Noticed business use of social media<br />Possibility of refashioning traditional communication<br />
  3. 3. Collective Intelligence<br />Remediation<br />Theoretical Framework <br />
  4. 4. Theoretical Framework<br />Collective Intelligence<br />Pierre Lévy (1997)<br />Intelligence shared by a group that is constantly enhancing and contributing to the community <br />Simultaneously enrich individuals<br />SNS wouldn’t be able to exist without interaction<br />Participatory Culture<br />The participants are the most vital element of a CI because without them, the aggregation of information wouldn’t be possible.<br />
  5. 5. Theoretical Framework Continued<br />Remediation<br />Bolter and Grusin (2000)<br />Refashioning media<br />Hypermediacy<br />Multiple representations of media in SNS<br />Replicates human experience (YouTube)<br />Immediacy<br />Sought through transparency<br />Reproduction of reality, remediates the real<br />Contact point between medium and what it represents<br />Social media’s contact point is emitted messages or media which generates interaction forming a conversation.<br />
  6. 6. Literature Review<br />Facebook grew 58.9% from June 18, 2008, to January 4, 2009 (Corbett, 2009) <br />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. <br />One of the main aspects of a participatory culture is that the participants must actually produce and not simply consume (Jenkins, 2006). <br />Social networking sites have become verbal playgrounds to converse and discuss contributing to an immanent collective intelligence (Frohmann, 2000). <br />
  7. 7. Research Questions<br />How has the utilization of social networking sites in nonprofit organizations formed a participatory culture, and does that culture establish a collective intelligence? <br />How has remediation been depicted through social media by businesses, and have the implemented social media strategies been effective?<br />
  8. 8. Methods<br />Participant Observation<br />Child and family-focused nonprofit <br /> Before focus group<br />Focus Groups<br />Both nonprofits<br />Survey<br />Volunteer nonprofit<br />Before focus group<br />Triangulating Methods<br />
  9. 9. Participant Observation <br />Child and Family-focused Nonprofit<br />Spent six-month period <br />(June-Nov. 2009)<br />Administered and maintained Facebook Fan Page, Cause, and Twitter account<br />Promoted organization to virtual community<br />Events, volunteers, staff changes, awards<br />Formed an analysis about responses, participation & effectiveness of SNS<br />
  10. 10. Focus Group<br />Both Nonprofits<br />Wanted to understand the utilization, participation, and remediation effects seen through social media<br />Snowball samples<br />Child and Family nonprofit consisted of board and staff members<br />Volunteer nonprofit consisted of organization members and officers<br />
  11. 11. Survey<br />Volunteer Nonprofit<br />92 female participants<br />Nine-question survey<br />Largest general membership meeting<br />Women ranging in ages from 24 to 50 participated in the survey.<br />Median age was 33<br />89.2% had personal Facebook profiles<br />9.7% did not have Facebook profiles <br />
  12. 12. Findings<br />Lack of familiarity and understanding of social media<br />Lack of communication<br />Saw potential with social media to reach a new donor/member demographic<br />Language barrier<br />Like being able to stay connected and reconnect with those in their social circles<br />Filter information<br />Have become self publicists<br />Complement traditional media<br />
  13. 13. Findings continued<br />Volunteer Nonprofit Survey Results<br />Cross tabulation<br />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. <br />
  14. 14. Findings continued<br />Volunteer Nonprofit Survey Results<br />Pearson’s Correlation<br />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. <br />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. <br />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.<br />
  15. 15. Findings continued<br />Volunteer Nonprofit Survey Results<br />T-tests<br />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). <br />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). <br />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).<br />
  16. 16. Discussion<br />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. <br />Networks like Facebook are rapidly building community and establishing relationships. <br />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.<br /> 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. <br />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.<br />
  17. 17. Future Research<br />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. <br />More research needs to be done on this topic<br />Study larger nonprofit organizations with more resources<br />Research for-profit companies<br />