Celebrities, credibility, and complementary frames: raising the agenda of sustainable and other ‘inconvenient’ food issues in social media campaigning

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Communication Research and Practice, 2018, 4 (3), pp. 229 - 245
Issue Date:
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© 2018, © 2018 Australian and New Zealand Communication Association. In a rapidly changing and crowded media landscape, food sustainability advocates face new challenges in engaging the public. Participants in digital networks often reside in social media communities that support their own views. This action-research study, which investigates international meat reduction social media campaigns, indicates that certain digital media advocacy strategies can assist in engaging a broader base and raising the agenda of issues surrounding environmental and other impacts of meat. Social media processes and frameworks such as agenda melding and connective action facilitate connections in digital networks and offer potential to build and broaden communities. Other strategies identified include: featuring the environment as one of a suite of complementary frames; and utilising high-profile experts or celebrities who promote or are associated with complementary frames, are seen to be credible, and embrace bigger-than-self intrinsic values. The findings have implications for media advocates who wish to break through digital echo chambers.
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