Category Archives: Social media

Risk, crisis, and social media

New pub with Joel Rasmussen: The literature on social media use in risk and crisis communication is growing fast, and it is time to take stock before looking forward. A review of 200 empirical studies in the area shows how the literature is indeed increasing and focusing on particular social media platforms, users, and phases from risk to crisis relief. However, although spanning 40 countries, a large proportion of the world’s social media users are under-represented in the research. In addition, little attention is given to the question of who is actually reached through social media, and the effects of the digital divide are rarely discussed. This article suggests that more attention is given to the questions of equal access to information and ICTs, complementary media channels, and cultural diversity.

Rasmussen, J., & Ihlen, Ø. (in press). Risk, crisis and social media: A systematic review of seven years’ research. Nordicom Review, 1-17. doi:10.1515/nor-2017-0393

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Paper presentation on social media and dialouge

Here is my presentation from the Corporate Communication Conference in Hong Kong 2014. Complete with idiosyncrasies, mumbling, and hawing. Full title: Ihlen, Ø., & Levenshus, A. (2014, June). Digital dialogue: Crisis communication in social media. The Corporate Communication International Conference on Corporate Communication 2014, Hong Kong.


Blogging backlash

Blogging might be a hyped strategic tool for organizations, at least for public organizations. I have lifted this conclusion from a paper by Anette Agerdal-Hjermind and Chiara Valentini and used it in my column in the magazine of the Norwegian practitioner organization.

Full reference: Agerdal-Hjermind, A., & Valentini, C. (2015). Blogging as a communication strategy for government agencies: A Danish case study. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 9(4), 293-315. doi:10.1080/1553118x.2015.1025406

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More on digital dialouge

Happy to announce that Abbey Levenshus (U of Tennessee) and I have had a chapter accepted for the forthcoming book Social media and crisis communication edited by Lucinda Austin and Yan Jin. Here’s the abstract: “A consistent finding in the crisis communication literature is that organizations should attempt to have a well-established relationship in place with stakeholders before a crisis occurs. Organizations need to engage in dialogue in advance of crisis situations. This chapter summarizes and discusses the literature that gives advice on how to use social media in this regard. It is argued that there is still a lot to learn from the more sophisticated theoretical conceptions of dialogue. Dialogue can be seen as a quality of communication and of relating with others, and/or an ideal to strive for. The main contribution of the chapter lies in the discussion of the limits of dialogue in an organizational context, and the practical suggestions for how the dialogue ideal can be approached.”

PhD positions in Political Communication

The POLKOM-group in my dep has two openings for those eager to get a PhD within political communication. One of these positions is earmarked political journalism, whereas the other is dedicated to forms of influence on political decision-making processes, e.g. lobbying, political mobilization and influence through social media. You will be joining a happening and prioritized group in the dep.

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Rhetorical citizenship in the digital age

Soon hitting the streets, the seventh volume of the book series Developments in Corporate Governance and Responsibility. This time the title is Corporate Social Responsibility in the Digital Age, and together with Elisabeth Hoff-Clausen I have a chapter there called “The rhetorical citizenship of corporations in the digital age”.

This is the gist of the chapter: Corporations also have communicative responsibilities towards society, something that is highlighted when applying the conceptual frame of rhetorical citizenship. The prime goal of this paper is to discuss what rhetorical citizenship as a normative aspiration might entail for corporations. From a descriptive perspective, we argue that rhetorical citizenship may appropriately describe the communicative practices that corporations are expected and induced to engage in by publics, not least in social media. While the vernacular discourse on corporations’ Facebook pages might not always resemble typical political deliberation, we consider the act of being present and responsive in social media a form of rhetorical citizenship.

Preprint version

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ICA2015 x 3

ICA 2015 is on! I am packing two papers and a panel and will be heading for Puerto Rico in May. Together with Abbey Levenshus, I will present a paper that continues our work on dialogue and social media. The paper Extolling and extending dialogue: Proposing new directions for research on corporations’ use of social media includes six propositions about the social media’s dialogic potential for corporations.

Fresh off from the DIGICOM-project, Joel Rasmussen and I will present a paper called Risk, crisis and social media: A meta-study of six years’ research. The paper illustrates how the literature has increasingly focused on causality, explaining the impact of different communicative choices on citizens’ perceptions of organizations in crisis. We also found that there are certain aspects that are largely missing. In addition to the lack of generalizable samples and studies of actual, preventive risk communication, very little attention is given to the effects of the digital divide on social mediated risk and crisis communication.

Finally, together with Magnus Fredriksson I proposed a panel called “Typology Teasing: Extending on Sociological Approaches in Public Relations.” In the wake of recent theory development in the field there is a need for public relations to come to terms with itself as a multi-paradigmatic discipline. This panel will focus on the sociological research strand in particular, which includes widely diverse approaches to social problems and different solutions for these.

The panelists will include such renowned scholars as Derina Holtzhausen, Magda Pieczka, Vilma Luoma-aho, and Finn Frandsen. Magnus will present a paper, while I will be chairing the panel.

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