Online Communication of Environmental Causes: A Mixed Methods Study of Topics, Frames, and Network Structures of Environmental NGO 350’s Twitter Coverage of the COP26
As the effects of climate change become increasingly tangible, governmental institutions, private organizations and NGOs, as well as citizens all over the world mobilize in the name of climate change mitigation. One such instance is the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which saw its 26th edition in 2021, in Glasgow (COP26). This conference does not only gather heads of State and powerful decision makers, but also grassroots organizations such as 350. The latter is an online-mediated environmental non-profit with chapters all over the world, which focuses on grassroots mobilization. This thesis seeks an answer to the question of how 350 used persuasive digital marketing to communicate environmental causes on Twitter during the COP26 of 2021. The strategic and epistemological aspects of the online communication of environmental causes are investigated through mixed digital methods of qualitative and quantitative nature. These include automated text analysis, topic modelling, sentiment analysis, network analysis, and frame analysis. The analysis is approached through the lenses of frame theory, persuasion theory, frameworks of social marketing, and insights from previous empirical studies on NGO communications. Findings show that Twitter was mainly used for commentary of current events instead of mobilization, thus complementing rather than replacing offline action. Moreover, a variety of topics covered and frames used were centred on inequality, sustainable investments, net-zero emission policies, and representation of disenfranchised communities, as well as solidarity and support of other environmentalists. Furthermore, 350 extensively tagged activists and small NGOs, reaching audiences all over the world in an indirect yet capillary way. The results highlight the need to update and expand current definitions of social marketing as well as the frameworks used for the analysis of networked organizational communications.
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|Media & Business|
|Organisation||Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication|
Vittoria Malgioglio. (2023, January 30). Online Communication of Environmental Causes: A Mixed Methods Study of Topics, Frames, and Network Structures of Environmental NGO 350’s Twitter Coverage of the COP26. Media & Business. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/66277