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Active and passive stakeholders in issue arenas: a communication network approach to the bird flu debate on Twitter

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Hellsten, Iina (main author), Jacobs, Sandra (author), Wonneberger, Anke (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
communication networks, farmers, poultry, public relations, health communication, bird flu, stakeholders, Twitter, Netherlands (Europe), online communication, corporate communicaiton
14 pages., via online journal., Issue arenas, as places for societal discussions, have recently been studied as an important aspect of organizational environments. While a fundamental part of any issue arena is the distinction between active and passive actors, empirical analyses have mainly focused on active stakeholders. We approach issue arenas as communication networks in which active stakeholders discuss topics and involve passive stakeholders. Based on network theory, we introduce an automated method for mapping these issue arenas on Twitter. In particular, we combine manual coding of active stakeholders, and automated semantic network analysis of addressed, passive stakeholders and their topics of discussion. Empirically, we focus on the issue of bird flu affecting poultry farming in the Netherlands from 2015 to 2017 with a sample of 704 Twitter messages. Instead of pre-defining a set of stakeholders for the analysis, our approach to study communication networks in online settings allows for mapping issue arenas based on the stakeholders that communicate about the topic.