Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Journalism

Advisor

Wicks, Jan

Reader

Chung, Jee Young

Second Reader

Kelting, Katie

Third Reader

Irish, Shawn

Abstract

Through content analysis of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on Twitter, this study examines how the country’s top and largest corporations in each of the main industries portray CSR on Twitter. The study investigates the agenda-setting potential of the CSR tweets based upon the variables examined, including (a) CSR dimension, (b) CSR topic, (c) tone, (d) stakeholders, (e) Twitter attributes, and (f) Twitter interactivity. The results indicate that CSR tweets predominantly portray the discretionary level of CSR, regardless of industry, predominantly include topics of public philanthropy, especially service-producing industries, and positive tone was used most frequently across industries. The community was the predominantly addressed stakeholder in both industries, and goods-producing industries tended to rank higher for reputation. For Twitter attributes, the common adoption rate was six years, a majority of accounts had the standard account template with a name, photo, link, and bio, and the goods-producing industries were more likely to have verified status, but a large percentage of accounts overall were verified. For Twitter interactivity, goods-producing industries has a consistent, large number of followers. Tweets predominantly had internal links, were most likely to have zero references, and tended to have one to ten retweets, regardless of industry. The goods-producing industries were more likely to have one or more hashtags and pictures, while videos were overall uncommon in tweets. These variables were evaluated to identify the agenda-setting power of each variable and draw conclusions about the power of Twitter to potentially create and transfer an agenda using CSR tweets from company to followers.

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