Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

Jefferson D. Miller

Committee Member

K. Jill Rucker

Second Committee Member

Casandra Cox

Third Committee Member

Jason Apple

Keywords

Agricultural Communications, Animal Agriculture, Blog, Content Analysis, Protein Industry, Semi-Structured Interview

Abstract

This thesis contains two articles that describe and characterize the use of the social media platform of blogging in the context of the animal agriculture and protein industry. The first article used content analysis to analyze blog posts and look for themes throughout the posts. This study included 37 posts from ten authors and resulted in four recurrent themes. The major themes were environment, consumption of protein, alternative protein source, and alternative dieting. The tones regarding these themes were both negative and positive toward the protein industry.

The second article used hand-coding to look for themes and similarities concerning flow of information between interviews with blog authors. Six interviews were conducted, two of whom were authors from the first study. All of the bloggers had neutral and/or positive experiences when researching information or taking part in the flow of information. The nature of interactions between bloggers and protein industry representatives took place mostly electronically, as blog authors served as information mediators to the public.

Though the views expressed through blog posts and interviews are not holistically representative of the entire U.S. protein and animal agriculture industry, readers are encouraged to apply this research however they see fit. Industry representatives are encouraged to engage in honest, transparent communication with blog authors, as well as with consumers.

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