Social Media and the Social Good: How Nonprofits Use Facebook to Communicate with the Public

Research paper by Gregory D. Saxton, Chao Guo, I-Hsuan Chiu, Bo Feng

Indexed on: 23 Mar '12Published on: 23 Mar '12Published in: Computer Science - Computers and Society


In this study, we examine the social networking practices of the 100 largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. More specifically, we develop a comprehensive classification scheme to delineate these organizations' use of Facebook as a stakeholder engagement tool. We find that there are 5 primary categories of Facebook "statuses", which can be aggregated into three key dimensions - "information", "community", and "action". Our analysis reveals that, though the "informational" use of Facebook is still significant, nonprofit organizations are better at using Facebook to strategically engage their stakeholders via "dialogic" and "community-building" practices than they have been with traditional websites. The adoption of social media seems to have engendered new paradigms of public engagement.