Strategic Communication, Social Media and Democracy: The challenge of the digital naturals, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Strategic Communication, Social Media and Democracy

The challenge of the digital naturals, 1st Edition

Edited by W. Timothy Coombs, Jesper Falkheimer, Mats Heide, Philip Young


188 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138497412
pub: 2018-04-03
SAVE ~$9.99
Hardback: 9781138841161
pub: 2015-08-25
SAVE ~$35.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315732411
pub: 2015-08-11
from $24.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Today almost everyone in the developed world spends time online and anyone involved in strategic communication must think digitally. The magnitude of change may be up for debate but the trend is unstoppable, dramatically reconfiguring business models, organisational structures and even the practice of democracy.

Strategic Communication, Social Media and Democracy provides a wholly new framework for understanding this reality, a reality that is transforming the way both practitioners and theoreticians navigate this fast-moving environment. Firmly rooted in empirical research, and resisting the lure of over-optimistic communication dreams, it explores both the potential that social media offers for changing the relationships between organisations and stakeholders, and critically analyses what has been achieved so far.

This innovative text will be of great interest to researchers, educators and advanced students in strategic communications, public relations, corporate communication, new media, social media and communication management.


'This thought-provoking book is a major contribution to the international body of knowledge in strategic communication. Traditional rules of the game are changed by the way digital naturals gather information, build opinion, and make decisions and organisations need to understand the new power structures. Building competencies for listening to stakeholders and participating in emerging discourses on the web is a major challenge. Readers will be inspired by this research.' - Ansgar Zerfass, Professor and Chair in Strategic Communication, University of Leipzig & Editor of the International Journal of Strategic Communication

'These authors help clarify the role strategic communication plays in promoting democracy through social media. That daunting undertaking requires insightful exploration of platforms as well as examination of concepts such as relationships, democracy, social change and marketing opportunities and pitfalls. Focusing attention on digital naturals, the book ponders whether people shape social media, or social media shapes how they work and live.' - Robert L. Heath, Professor Emeritus, The University of Houston, USA

'This new and exciting book, written by an international team of scholars within strategic communication, explores the changing nature of the online environment and introduces the digital naturals, the true citizens of the network society. Read it before your stakeholders do!' - Winni Johansen, Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

'Finally, a book that foregoes easy generalisations for judicious evaluations around specific issues. The editors and authors are enthusiastic users who are not just consistently informed but clear-eyed, sceptical and alert to new developments, current theories, and professional challenges alongside a concern for equity. It sets standards for 21st-century social media democracy - buy this collection to become a better 21st-century citizen.' - David McKie, Professor, The University of Waikato, New Zealand

Table of Contents

1. Meet the Digital Naturals (Philip Young and Marja Åkerström) Part I: New Media & Strategic Communication 2. The Role of Communication Professionals in the Digital Age: Old paradoxes, new distinctions? (Henrik Merkelsen, Veselinka Möllerström and Sara von Platen) 3. Exploring the Language of Social Media in the Discourse of Public Relations (Philip Young, Timothy Coombs and Sherry Holladay) 4. Rotation Curation on Instagram: How digital naturals participate in city imaging (Cecilia Cassinger and Åsa Thelander) 5. Social Intranets and Internal Communication: Dreaming of democracy in organizations (Mats Heide) 6. Digital Naturals and Crisis Communication: Significant shifts of focus (Timothy Coombs and Sherry Holladay) Part II: Modern Democracy  7. The Dream of Enlightenment Within Digital Reach? Concepts of democracy (Howard Nothhaft) 8. What Do Digital Naturals Demand from Democracy? (Marja Åkerström and Philip Young) 9. Social Media and Parliamentary Infighting: Digital naturals in the Swedish Riksdag? (Nils Gustafsson) 10. ‘Swarming’ for Democracy: Karl-Theodor Guttenberg’s plagiarism case, the court of public opinion and the parliament of things (Hagen Schölzel and Howard Nothhaft) 11. Deliberation and Adjudication as Democratic Practice in Post-Fact Society (Marja Åkerström) 12. The Gamification of Democracy: Computer games as strategic communication tools and cultivating forces (Howard Nothhaft and Jens Sieffert) 13. Digital Media and New Terrorism (Jesper Falkheimer) 14. Conclusion

About the Editors


W. Timothy Coombs is a professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, USA.

Jesper Falkheimer is a professor in strategic communication at Lund University, Sweden.

Mats Heide is a professor in strategic communication at Lund University, Sweden.

Philip Young is Lecturer and Researcher at Lund University, Sweden.

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research

Current academic thinking about PR and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged. The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on: PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation building; its origins in the history of ideas; a Jungian approach to its ethics and professionalism; global perspectives on its professional practice; PR as an everyday language for everyone; as emotional labour; as communication in conflicted societies, and its relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox. We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mind-set that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy