Date of Defense

4-17-2013

Date of Graduation

4-2013

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Janice Maatman

Second Advisor

Annette Hamel

Abstract

Perceptions of social media networks are changing rapidly. Their purpose, function, effectiveness, and relevance are being widely debated while their global popularity and societal influence escalate. While individuals used the networks to share, manage, and change their personal lives, organizations jumped at the chance to benefit from low-cost public relations, advertising, and market research. Many organizations speedily adjusted their communication strategies to access these low-cost resources. Due to historical marginalization many nonprofit community agencies were slower to integrate this new media costing them the opportunity to compete for audience attention on level with the private industry. Neglecting to integrate these media resources effectively has and will continue to be a detrimental oversight. Systematically aligning the core purpose of community agencies with the main functions of social media provide a platform to develop a strategy to ensure these community agencies reap all the benefits of this new media. A case-study at Lutheran Church of the Savior (LCS) contextualizes the assertions made in the respective literature. A comparison between theory and reality exposes social media limitations specific to community agencies necessitating careful integration and management of the new media. The study concludes by providing structure for an integration plan specifically designed to maximize the social media benefits for community agencies.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

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