Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Social Media & Society, 29 pp 1-5

This paper reports on on-going exploratory research into the prevalence and patterns of social media use by trade unions in the United Kingdom. Social media platforms, like Twitter, are used by unions to organize and mobilize existing and potential members by communicating relevant content, which often engages politicians and the news media. However, there is little empirical research examining how trade unions use social media in practice. This research addresses this gap by employing digital methods to analyze trade union activity on Twitter, namely, exploring key characteristics of Twitter use by UK unions and mapping dynamic networks of associations around labour movement issues. Findings are discussed in the context of collective and connective action. The methodological implications for studying civil society organizations online are also considered.