Webcare across Public and Private Social Networking Sites: How Stakeholders and the Netherlands Red Cross adapt their Messages to Channel Affordances and Constraints

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific


Previous research has focused on the message characteristics of public webcare conversations. However, webcare conversations are increasingly held on private social networking sites. Little is known to what extent organizations and stakeholders adapt their messages to the affordances of public and private channels. Employing the Uses and Gratifications theory, this paper reports on a content analysis of webcare conversations (n=423) between stakeholders and the Netherlands Red Cross on public (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and private (Twitter DM, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp) social networking sites. The findings reveal private channels mainly serve the purpose of customer service: stakeholders approach the organization with questions; the organization uses message personalization to enhance the experience of one-to-one communication. Public social networking sites mainly serve the purpose of reputation management: stakeholders post remarks and compliments; the organization adapts the communication style of its messages to the affordances of the individual platform. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Period29 Oct 2021
Event titleConference on Computer-Mediated Communication CMC and Social Media Corpora
Event typeConference
Conference number8
LocationNijmegen, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational