Understanding trade union usage of social media: a case study of the Public and Commercial Services union on Facebook and Twitter

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This paper provides the first cross-platform examination of trade union social media posts, focusing on the online content of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union. Data scraped from the union’s Facebook posts (n=282) were compared with data obtained from the union’s Twitter account (n=1,554) to investigate the extent to which social media reflects a union’s identity and utilises the language of mobilisation theory to engage with their audience. Across a six-month period (July-December 2019), findings demonstrated PCS behaved in an interactive manner on social media, avoiding the pitfalls of a ‘bulletin board’ approach through using the language of mobilisation theory. However, content was engaged with by users to different extents depending upon which platform the content was posted. Findings also suggest that social media posts can reflect a version of union identity.


Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
Early online date29 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2021


  • facebook, internet, moblisation theory, social media, trade union, twitter, union

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