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Expecting the unexpected: Nonprofit media responses to anti-abortion terrorism
Unformatted Document Text:  Running head: RESPONSES TO ANTI-ABORTION TERRORISM understanding of the organizational, personal, and societal histories that impact crisis management. New Media: Constructing Digital Attractor Basins Findings indicated that new media served as a strange attractor where organizations used social media, specifically Twitter, to direct conversation. Although the nonprofit organizations indirectly addressed misinformation perpetuated by anti-abortion organizations, the six nonprofit women’s organizations did not engage with anti-abortion organizations via tweet, instead creating a supportive e-community that strengthened group identity (Yarid & Boyd, 2010). The nonprofits were followed on Twitter by like-minded individuals, who voluntarily subscribed to receive tweets, and potentially retweeted the organizations’ messages to their own networks. This reflects existing research that indicates that individuals on Twitter are exposed to a wide variety of ideas, and tend to engage in conversation with those who share similar viewpoints (Yarid & Boyd, 2010). Finding that Twitter may serve as a strange attractor builds on Sellnow, Seeger, and Ulmer’s (2002) research, which found that agencies assisting with recovery and renewal following the 1997 Red River Valley flood were strange attractors. Twitter offers a new opportunity for sensemaking, which breaks down traditional, rationalized structures of communication and predicts new possibilities for leadership and deicison-making. In this way, an expanded network of individuals can emerge as a result of the organization’s Twitter activity, causing Twitter to become a strange attractor within the complex system by offering some degree of order and stability. With this in mind, other organizations can utilize new media channels to create digital attractor basins where publics can gather, find comfort, and adopt similar behaviors, attitudes and values. 30

Authors: Sundstrom, Beth., Briones, Rowena. and Janoske, Melissa.
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background image
Running head: RESPONSES TO ANTI-ABORTION TERRORISM
understanding of the organizational, personal, and societal histories that impact crisis 
management.
New Media: Constructing Digital Attractor Basins
Findings indicated that new media served as a strange attractor where organizations used 
social media, specifically Twitter, to direct conversation. Although the nonprofit organizations 
indirectly addressed misinformation perpetuated by anti-abortion organizations, the six nonprofit 
women’s organizations did not engage with anti-abortion organizations via tweet, instead 
creating a supportive e-community that strengthened group identity (Yarid & Boyd, 2010). The 
nonprofits were followed on Twitter by like-minded individuals, who voluntarily subscribed to 
receive tweets, and potentially retweeted the organizations’ messages to their own networks. 
This reflects existing research that indicates that individuals on Twitter are exposed to a wide 
variety of ideas, and tend to engage in conversation with those who share similar viewpoints 
(Yarid & Boyd, 2010). Finding that Twitter may serve as a strange attractor builds on Sellnow, 
Seeger, and Ulmer’s (2002) research, which found that agencies assisting with recovery and 
renewal following the 1997 Red River Valley flood were strange attractors. Twitter offers a new 
opportunity for sensemaking, which breaks down traditional, rationalized structures of 
communication and predicts new possibilities for leadership and deicison-making. In this way, 
an expanded network of individuals can emerge as a result of the organization’s Twitter activity, 
causing Twitter to become a strange attractor within the complex system by offering some 
degree of order and stability. With this in mind, other organizations can utilize new media 
channels to create digital attractor basins where publics can gather, find comfort, and adopt 
similar behaviors, attitudes and values. 
30


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