Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communications (School)


Social media is a phenomenon that businesses are using to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders. The new communication channel is different from the traditional channels used by marketing, public relations, and human resources because of user created content, social dynamics, and frequent changes to the autonomous online platforms' structure and social make-up. Social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have received significant attention from both scholars and practitioners seeking best practice for organizational engagement with the phenomenon. Much of the information published for businesses, communities, and activists, who are looking into social media engagement provides consistent instruction, but are the recommended practices reflected in the practice of organizations? This thesis investigates the language used by organizations to manage use of social media in order to learn how closely they follow published advice. An analysis of the content presented in 25 organizational social media policy documents from sources spanning five industries is used to explore how corporations are approaching the use of social media. The findings reveal which practices are uniformly included in policy, and which practices are unique to the industrial focus or identity of particular organizations.

Included in

Social Media Commons



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