Social Media Workflow (2013–2014)

Case Study:
Social Media Workflow at the United Nations

Social media is a powerful tool that is transforming communication between people around the world. International organizations—be they non-governmental, intergovernmental, or multinational corporations—are tapping into the potential of social media technologies and are leading conversations with their target audiences. However, orchestrating these social-media-communication activities in large, international organizations is quite a challenge when it comes to creating structure, ensuring consistent branding, and disseminating appropriate multilingual messages.

To address this challenge, this thesis’ objective was to design a social media communication process, or workflow, for international organizations. Based on research conducted with the UN’s communications department (Department of Public Information, DPI), the thesis attempted to design such a social media communication process by answering two questions:

  1. How can international organizations structure their social media communication activities?
  2. How can international organizations plan, design, and disseminate social media messages—messages that portray one coherent image of the organization, work in many languages, and consider the diversity of a global audience?

The answer to these research questions is represented in the design for a social media communication process, which consists of two elements: a process map and a workflow. The process map suggests how international organizations can structure social media communication activities. The workflow proposes how such organizations can plan, design, and disseminate coherent multilingual social media messages to a diverse global audience.

I have presented research findings in a number of fora to social media operators and senior UN officials, such as the directors and the Under-Secretary-General of DPI. Insights have been included in DPI’s social media strategy reform and have contributed to streamlining operations of the UN’s official social media channels.

Selection of Related Work

  • “Designing a Social Media Communication Process for International Organizations: The Case of the United Nations.” Master’s Thesis. Vienna University of Economics and Business. October 2014. Receive thesis by sending an email to
  •  “Designing a Communication System That Enables Consistent, Immediate, Multilingual and Accurate UN Communication Through Social Media Communication Channels.” Presentation to social media experts of the UN Department of Public Information. March 2014.