Is Social Media Embracing the Big DC Orgs?
While the quantity of social media tools used provides some insight into an organization’s embrace of social media, an examination of links to these organizations from the bloggers at the center of the online policy debates provides a measurement of the impact of such activity.
To provide such an analysis, we compared the ten organizations that are using the most social media tools with the top 4000 sources used by the bloggers in Morningside's recent health and energy policy research.
While the sources most used by bloggers are media outlets (both traditional and new media), advocacy organizations are cited particularly within discussions on policy issues.
Compared to the other organizations that were included in the social media tools study, the Sierra Club (the organization that used the most social media tools - ten ), was also the organization that was most cited as a source from the blogs most focused on energy policy.
Looking at the same organizations, SEIU (second in the social media tools study using nine social media tools), was the organization that was most cited as a source within the blogs focused on health policy.
However, after the Sierra Club and SEIU the correlations between tools used and links trail off. Two of the four organizations that used eight social media tools and three of the four of the organizations that used seven were not within the top sources used by bloggers discussing energy or health policy.
The American Medical Association, which used only one social media tool, was cited as a source by bloggers engaged in health policy more then any other group in that study with the exception of SEIU and the Human Rights Campaign.
In looking at the top sources used by both bloggers focused on health or energy policy, several large DC organizations that were not part of the social media tools study (including the Center for American Progress, the ACLU, the Heritage Foundation and the CATO Institute) far outpaced any of the groups that were in that study. A look at the social media tools used by these organizations might provide some additional insights.
All that being said, a specific organization’s social media impact can only be measured in relation to its own goals. While some organizations engage with social media to mobilize their base, others are trying to expand support for their issues.
The following maps document the footprint that some of these organizations are having on the network of bloggers focused on health policy. Depending on these organization’s own goals the maps could be showing social media success or social media failure.