Understanding civic engagement on social media platforms - Anastasia Kavada


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Knowledge Exchange presentation by Anastasia Kavada at the 2012 eCampaigning Forum in Oxford.

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Understanding civic engagement on social media platforms - Anastasia Kavada

  1. 1. E-campaigning Forum, Oxford 21-22 March 2012 Anastasia Kavada University of Westminster
  2. 2.  Access to new audiences Lowers costs of mobilization - information can spread through pre-existing social networks Capacity for interaction and co-production of content carry the potential for community-building
  3. 3.  Loss of control over the message Presence on multiple platforms:  Dispersion of the supporter base  Lack of message coherence  Duplication and potential waste of resources Limited commitment - Transient sense of belonging  Weak participation - ‘clicktivism’ &‘slacktivism’  Promote individuality rather than collective unity
  4. 4.  Practitioners:‘Ladder of engagement’ or ‘supporter journey’ Academic research:Threshold of participation, rational choice theoryBut… Underlying assumption: A smooth progression up the ladder of engagement? Focus on the individual and not on how the individual is engaged in the collective
  5. 5. Mapping of Collective ActionBimber, Flanagin&Stohl (2005), (2006)
  6. 6. Mode of Engagement Entrepreneurial: high responsibility & opportunityMode of Interaction[Bonding] Personal: Impersonal: direct Interaction no direct interaction Institutional: low responsibility & opportunity (Flanagin et al., 2006, p. 34)
  7. 7. Move from web 1.0 to 2.0means that we need to study websitesnot as top-down communication from advocacy groups tousersbut as platforms of interactionbetween a variety ofactors(web coordinators, lay users, platform creators etc.)So we need to pay attention to: classes or types of users roles and rules, governance norms and policy documents modes of interaction and co-production of content
  8. 8. Case studies: Main Facebook and Twitter page of 38 Degrees and Amnesty International UKMethods: Features analysis (focus on the design and architecture) Content analysis of comments (focus on the use) Interviews (focus on the use)
  9. 9. Activities Affiliating Ranges from institutional Framing to entrepreneurial Mobilizing Added: presence of the individual voice in the Taking Action collective Managing the space
  10. 10.  Ranges from personal (leads to direct ties) to impersonal (leads to affiliative ties)Added: who can communicate with whom degree of interactivity (two-way communication) degree of synchronicity degree of privacy
  11. 11.  Greater individual autonomy in affiliating to the organization Framing of issues, narrative of campaigns and agenda- setting is controlled by the organization  Design of Facebook pages and Twitter profiles helps to distinguish between organizational and individual voices  Individuals play a somewhat greater role in curating/arranging information on the platform Mobilizing: Greater individual autonomy in using one’s social network to spread the word
  12. 12. Individual supporters & organization mainly public and impersonal communication some interaction on discussion pages, wall posts and @repliesSupporters & their own social networksMore opportunities for synchronous, interactive and privatecommunicationSupporters & Supporters mainly public opportunity for interaction on discussion pages and Facebook wall – but content analysis shows that this is limited
  13. 13. Interpersonal bonding with one’s own networkbut affiliative ties with other supporters
  14. 14. Mode of Understand Engagement social media as Entrepreneurial in the broader embedded communication ecology ofMode of Interaction the organization[Bonding] LG Personal Impersonal FB TW Institutional
  15. 15. Mode of Engagement Study the links, flows, and Entrepreneurial overlaps between different communication spacesMode of Interaction[Bonding] LG Personal Impersonal FB TW Institutional
  16. 16. Please send questions and feedback to A.Kavada@westminster.ac.uk