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Coming out of the Closet

Exploring LGBT Issues in Strategic Communication with Theory and Research

Edited By Natalie T.J. Tindall and Richard D. Waters

Despite representing significant portions of the advertising, marketing, and public relations work force, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) community has largely been ignored by scholarly research in strategic communications. With the exception of case studies that document strategies that can be used to secure the LGBT consumer dollar, little has been done to understand the LGBT community’s experiences with strategic communications efforts. This edited volume fills this gap by sharing research on the impact and interaction of campaigns and programming from advertising, marketing, and public relations on internal (e.g., practitioners and employees) and external (e.g., consumers, activists) stakeholders from the LGBT community. Several chapters in this volume highlight a significant change in the focus of strategic communications that recognizes the long-term benefits of having legitimate partnerships; others, however, counter this optimistic trend by discussing the continued struggles of practitioners working in strategic communication and the LGBT community at large.
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Chapter 14: Advocacy in the Digital Age: Participatory Media and the Empowerment of an LGBT Public

Extract

Erica Ciszek

This chapter examines the ways in which participatory media, particularly YouTube, are a platform for the development of strategic communication when working with individuals and organizations in the LGBT community. Participatory media include blogs, wikis, RSS, tagging and social bookmarking, music-photo-video sharing, podcasts, virtual communities, social network services, and videoblogs. They are sites for collaboration and participation that establish the potential for growth and development between an organization and its stakeholders. Participatory media provide a platform for two-way communication with an internal (i.e., practitioners and employees) and external public (i.e., consumers and activists). This chapter primarily considers the ways LGBT advocacy organizations use digital platforms for establishing relationships and engaging in dialogue with members of an LGBT public. It examines the ways participatory media, particularly YouTube, empower members of a community, and explores the ways these media can function to achieve organizational objectives. This chapter suggests that participatory media empower and enable the LGBT community to embrace and carry forth an organization’s mission of activism and advocacy.

Within strategic communication, there is currently a need to consider ways of building inclusive relationships between organizations and publics. This chapter is an exploratory examination of the uses and potential of participatory media by LGBT organizations in building relationships with their publics. This chapter examines sites where participatory media are currently being used for youth anti-bullying efforts, marriage-equality campaigns, and transgender advocacy. It also considers sites where such media might be utilized more effectively for social justice...

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