Welcome Or Not

Jeanine Guidry, Caroline Orr, Kellie Carlyle, Marcus Messner, Yan Jin, and Karen Freberg. “Welcome Or Not: Comparing The #Refugees Conversation On Instagram And Pinterest.” Accepted for presentation at the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) 2016 Congress, Groningen & Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 29-October 1, 2016.

Abstract: The current Syrian refugee crisis has resulted in millions of Syrians fleeing their homes in search of safety and hope for their families. This flow of refugees and asylum seekers has both led to humanitarian efforts to assist these refugees as well as increasing views of refugees as a threat to receiving countries’ security and autonomy. Statements and discussions about the still-growing crisis have increasingly landed on social media platforms, including visual ones like Instagram and Pinterest. However, little is known about the information available on these platforms. The current study used a mixed method content analysis of a random sample of 750 Instagram posts and 750 Pinterest posts to evaluate the visual and textual messaging surrounding the ongoing refugee-crisis. Results show that Pinterest has a higher level of anti-refugee messaging than Instagram, that Pinterest includes more intensity in its visual components, and that refugee focused Instagram posts elicit significantly more comments than similar Pinterest posts. The study concludes with a set of recommendations for communications and public relations professionals that may help inform the development of visual-based messaging to counter antirefugee sentiment.

Yan Jin 

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