MOTIVES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA USE AMONG PRACTITIONERS AT NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
ROBACK, ANDREW J.
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I used the motivation concept from activity theory to derive a fundamental notion of why workers at nonprofit organizations (NPOs) use social media sites. This study rejects the notion that practitioners are not taking full advantage of social media sites by not using every available feature and engaging in dialogic communication. Existing work relies too extensively on the dialogic model of communication and frequently focuses on only top-tier NPOs, ignoring the context in which smaller NPOs operate and producing recommendations that are of little practical value. To investigate this issue, I reviewed existing best practices as portrayed in NPO social media strategy guides, and used the principles of activity theory to survey practitioners at human services NPOs in Chicago. I collected data on user motivation for using Facebook and Twitter by asking users to review past posts on these sites and describe their purpose in posting this information. Using this information, I trained an automated text classifier to classify a large corpus of posts based on four types of motivations: soliciting, promoting, sharing, and credit-giving. This dissertation builds off recent studies that question existing wisdom on “effective” use of social media by NPOs and argues for an expanded consideration of user agency and intent when using social media.