Advocacy organizations’ evaluation of social media information for NGO journalism: The evidence and engagement models

Change log

jats:pThis article contributes to the emergent literature on the use of social media at advocacy organizations. Much of this existing literature focuses on these organizations’ production of social media information; this article, however, explores the complementary and relatively unexamined consumption of social media information that can form part of advocacy work. By drawing parallels between journalism and advocacy, the article develops two theoretical models of how advocacy organizations evaluate social media information as part of this consumption. These models differ according to the information values at their cores and according to how these values are evaluated in practice; correspondingly, the models interact differently with social media’s affordances. The key information value for the evidence model is the veracity of the information’s metadata, and this is largely evaluated through a time-intensive verification process requiring corroboration and drawing on human expertise. In contrast, the key information value pertaining to the engagement model is participation, which is evaluated by measuring the volume of participants in the information’s production and transmission. The affordances of social media are often hindrances for the evidence model, because they can make metadata more difficult to verify. In contrast, the engagement model capitalizes on social media affordances, because these affordances facilitate participation as well as the evaluation of participation volume using digital analytics. In addition to shedding light on approaches to social media information evaluation at advocacy organizations, this article urges researchers and practitioners to be alive to related barriers to pluralism as they study and use these approaches.</jats:p>

advocacy organizations, social media, evidence, verification, engagement, participation, NGO journalism, pluralism
Journal Title
American Behavioral Scientist
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SAGE Publications
ESRC (ES/K009850/1)
Isaac Newton Trust (1208(J))