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social media, nonprofit organizations, county government


This article uses interviews and internet data to examine social media use among nonprofit organizations and county departments involved in the delivery of human services in a six-county area in South Central New York State. Social media use was modest; and nonprofit organizations were much more likely to use it than county departments. Organizations used social media primarily to market organizational activities, remain relevant to key constituencies and raise community awareness. Most organizations either had a narrow view of social media’s potential value or lacked long-term vision. Barriers to use included institutional policies, concerns about its inappropriateness for target audiences, and client confidentiality. The findings build on recent research regarding the extent to which nonprofit organizations and local governments use social media to engage stakeholders. Future research should investigate not only the different ways organizations use social media but also whether organizations use it strategically to advance organizational goals.

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