NOTE: This post was written by Dylan Ashdown, Ana Figueiredo, Mia Riley, and Alyssa Pack.
Dylan Ashdown is a Dual MA student in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations pursuing a MA in Diplomacy and International Relations and a MA in Strategic Communications. Having graduated from the University of Central Missouri, he holds a BA in Political Science and a BA in International Studies, along with minors in Tourism Management, History, and German.
Ana Figueiredo is an MA student in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Fundação Educacional Dr. Raul Bauab in Brazil.
Mia Riley is an MA student in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations with specializations in International Organizations and International Economics and Development. She holds a BS in International Business and Business Administration from Rider University.
Alyssa Pack is an MA student in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations with specializations in Foreign Policy Analysis and Global Negotiation/Conflict Management. She holds a B.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, with minors in Economics and Italian.
Graduate students from Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations will be conducting a landmark study on Twitter usage by international organizations in coordination with Dr. Martin Edwards, Director of the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies.
Based on “Twiplomacy” data from the global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller, Dr. Edwards’ students will analyze the reasons why international organizations use Twitter differently. This study will be performed by utilizing data obtained from the Yearbook of International Organizations and measuring the factors that account for variations in the volume of Twitter usage (the number of tweets posted per day), variations in their ability to disseminate information via Twitter (the average number of retweets), and variations in their participation in conversations (the number of replies to others).
Our working hypothesis is that the more centralized and independent the international organization, the greater its capabilities to disseminate high volumes of information through the support of well-established social media teams. Yet, centralization and independence require greater need to reassure not only other states, but also those within civil society. Thus, differences in Twitter usage can be traced to differences in the structural design features of international organizations.
The findings of this study will be of significance to academia, policy-making, and to international organizations. Twitter has gone beyond its initial purpose of merely disseminating information to become a forum for communicating on an array of issues. By understanding usage and reception of social media as a medium for information in international affairs, international organizations can improve the way they educate civil society and influence policy-making processes to further their objectives.
The emergence of Twiplomacy has created an invaluable policy tool for international organizations to interact with society. This study will not only assess how international organizations use Twitter differently, but also account for these variations.
The findings and recommendations from this study will be released on this blog later this semester.