“I ♥ Skagens Museum”: Patterns of Interaction in the Institutional Facebook Communication of Museums

Ditte Laursen, Christian Hviid Mortensen, Anne Rørbæk Olesen, Kim Christian Schrøder

Abstract


Facebook has often been hailed for affording participation and thus for representing an opportunity for institutions to interact with the public. However, research concerning how institutions are actualizing this communicative opportunity is still scarce. In this article, we seek to address this gap by investigating empirically how one type of institution, namely museums, and their Facebook followers, actually communicate. Our approach is innovative in combining analytical tools from speech act theory and Conversation Analysis (CA) to a corpus of activities from the Facebook pages of nine Danish museums of different types and sizes collected during eight consecutive weeks in 2013. This approach enables us to both investigate communicative actions as isolated speech acts and the micromechanics of the interaction that potentially arise from these actions. Our findings indicate that certain kinds of speech act are used more than others and that certain speech acts lead to more interaction than others. By analyzing a fairly standard example of museum/follower interaction, we show how different kinds of micro conversational dynamics play out. In light of this analysis, we ask what modes of participation the interaction affords and we discuss the implications of our findings for recent debates about how museums can adapt to the participatory paradigm underlying institutional Facebook communication.

Key Words: Social media communication, Facebook, speech acts, conversation analysis,
institutional communication, museums


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Copyright (c) 2017 Ditte Laursen, Christian Hviid Mortensen, Anne Rørbæk Olesen, Kim Christian Schrøder

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360