Social media persuasion : the KXL pipeline debate
Shen, Wendy Yvonne
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The Keystone XL pipeline project has been debated and reviewed by both Canadian and U.S. governments for many years, and as of the writing of this thesis (2015) the U.S. government has still not approved the permit to begin the construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline project. As a result, supporters and opponents continue to try different ways of persuading and engaging the public. More and more organizations are turning to social media as a tool to inform, promote and persuade. This thesis examined how Cialdini’s persuasion principles along with Kietzmann et al.’s honeycomb social media framework were used to frame KXL website material, Facebook posts and Twitter tweets for 16 key players which included industry, associations, ENGOs and government agencies during protests, environmental disasters and policy-announcements. I found that the ENGOs used all or most of Cialdini’s persuasion principles to frame their opposition views, which translated into high social media engagement.
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