Unpacking the Influence of Informational, Organizational, and Structural Factors on the Longitudinal Change of the NPO Follower-Followee Network on Twitter

Jiawei Sophia Fu


A growing body of research has treated interorganizational networks as dynamic systems of communication. However, most longitudinal network studies have confounded the processes of new tie formation and old tie maintenance, resulting in an incomplete understanding of the processes of network change. Based on the multitheoretical multilevel framework, this study examines how different factors shape new tie formation and existing tie maintenance of a follower-followee network among 184 environmental nonprofit organizations on Twitter from 2014 to 2017. Actor-oriented modeling results demonstrated that organizations were more likely to form new ties with other organizations that more actively tweeted, shared similar organizational age and geographic location, and were already popular in the network. However, tie maintenance only correlated with geographic location and popularity. Organizations were particularly likely to dissolve existing ties with organizations of the same age. This study advances research on interorganizational communication, social networks, collective action, and networked relationship management.


interorganizational communication, social networks, nonprofit organization, social media, collective action, strategic communication, social network analysis (SNA), actor-oriented modeling (SIENA), longitudinal research, Twitter, affordance

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