Comfort article analyzes #climatemarch social media campaign
A new study by assistant professor Suzannah Evans Comfort examines the success of an environmental nongovernmental organization’s participatory social media campaign in a time when most NGOs still shy away from directional social media messaging.
“Three Dimensions of Social Media Messaging Success by Environmental NGOs,” by Evans and Joe Bob Hester, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, appears in the latest issue of Environmental Communication.
The study used quantitative analysis on the NGO-promoted hashtag #climatemarch, used during a 2015 United Nations conference on climate change, to assess three dimensions of success: volume, topic/valence and participants.
The authors write that fear of a loss of message control may be at the heart of NGOs’ desire to keep social media messages on track.
The study found that most users of the hashtag were climate activists, indicating that the hashtag was used for community building and mobilization, not for pressuring officials or corporations. As time passed, news media became more prominent users of the hashtag, speaking to the persisting importance of journalists in discourse even in the social media space.