Exploring Interest Group Social Media Activity on Facebook and Twitter


  • Maggie Macdonald University of Kentucky
  • Anna Gunderson Louisiana State University
  • Kirsten Widner University of Tennessee, Knoxville




Interest groups, social media, affordances, audience, Congress


This article investigates how American interest groups' social media activity differs across Facebook and Twitter using a dataset of nearly 13 million posts from 1,500 organizations from 2016 to 2020. We find that interest groups use the two platforms differently. Groups are more likely to use Facebook for organizational maintenance and are more politically- and policy-focused on Twitter. Among groups, their type matters. Citizens' groups and unions are the most active users and get the most attention from others, while business groups are the least active and engaged with. We also highlight engagement between elected officials and interest groups on these platforms. This article encourages scholars to think critically about how the distinct audiences and affordances of Facebook and Twitter may provide different types of opportunities for interest groups — and other political actors — to reach social media users. This is especially important given the growth of social media and its potential to be a transformative tool for substantive policy change.




How to Cite

Macdonald, M., Gunderson, A., & Widner, K. (2024). Exploring Interest Group Social Media Activity on Facebook and Twitter. Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media , 4. https://doi.org/10.51685/jqd.2024.014