Accepted paper:

Innovation or Tradition? Analyzing the Twitter Networks of Japanese Environmental Organizations


Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki (University of Tsukuba)
Yutaka Tsujinaka (University of Tsukuba)

Paper short abstract:

Social media such as Twitter provides an innovative information space for communicating environmental policy. In this paper, we compare and analyze how Japanese non-profit, government, and political organizations are currently utilizing Twitter for advocacy, engagement, and promotion.

Paper long abstract:

One of the most important innovations within the evolving Internet has been the widespread use of social media, exemplified by the popularity of social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Attracted by low cost, rapid dissemination, and the capability of maintaining continuous information- and communications-oriented relationships, political actors such as government offices (Cho & Park, 2011; Neiger, et al. 2013), as well as non-profit organizations (Ciszek, 2013) have become enthusiastic users of social media, particularly Twitter. The possibilities of social media to attract publics and advocate for environmental causes have been embraced by many Japanese environmental actors, including government organizations and political parties. Promoting organizational goals, creating online discussion spaces for engagement, and striving to influence environmental policy are just some of the goals of these organizations. In this paper, we analyze how Japanese environmental organizations are utilizing Twitter for advocacy, engagement, and promotion. Of the list of 172 active organizations in the GEPON (Global Environmental Policy Network) II Survey Japan (2012-13), a project led by Yutaka Tsujinaka of the University of Tsukuba, Japan, we identified 34 organizations that maintain websites and Twitter accounts. We compare their goals and objectives as stated on their websites with an analysis of their Twitter content over a period of three months (January to March 2017), in terms of advocating policy goals, promoting organizational objectives, and innovating by broadening their information networks. The results of our comparisons may have implications for investigating social media use by policy actors in terms of advocacy, engagement, and promotion. Cho, Seong Eun, and Han Woo Park (2011). "Government organizations' innovative use of the Internet: The case of the Twitter activity of South Korea's Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries," Scientometrics, 90(1): 9-23. Ciszek, Erica (2013). "Advocacy and Amplification: Nonprofit Outreach and Empowerment Through Participatory Media," Public Relations Journal 7(2): 187-213. Neiger, Brad L., Rosemary Thackeray, Scott H. Hurton, Callie R. Thackeray, and Jennifer H. Heese (2013). "Use of Twitter Among Local Health Departments: An Analysis of Information Sharing, Engagement, and Action," Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(8): e177.

panel S5b_17
Social media in Japan