Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Community events and the adoption of social media

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posted on 2021-11-23, 19:32 authored by Gadd, Alexandra

The technological capabilities and popularity of social media applications such Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are rapidly increasing with technological advances. More individuals are using these applications to communicate with friends and family, share photos, and to post reviews of products and services. Social media use is also important within business environments to enhance marketing and communication processes. Organisations need to adopt these applications to remain relevant within the rapidly growing social media landscape.  Despite their importance for local populations, community events in general, and their use of social media, have received little academic attention. Community events play a key role towards fostering local identity and culture, supporting the local well-being and the economy, and promoting social interactions. Through adopting social media, community events can reach a wider audience to increase event attendance, communicate with event organizers and volunteers, and conduct research to better understand their event attendees.  This thesis applies the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) adoption theories of Rogers’ (1995) Adoption and Diffusion of Innovation Theory, and Davis’ (1986) Technology Acceptance Model to the context of community events to understand social media use. Community events exhibit characteristics that differentiate their managerial and organisational processes from many businesses where ICT adoption theories have been applied.  Two research objectives are explored: 1) Assessing the level of ‘best practice’ use of social media by community event organisers, 2) Determining the influence of the ICT adoption variables on social media use by community events. Through exploratory interviews with event experts, a definition of ‘community events’ was established, and additional factors that may influence community events use of social media were identified. Data to address the research objectives was collected from two sources. First, 114 community event organisers within New Zealand completed an online-survey to understand ICT adoption characteristics that support their social media use. Second, a social media best practice framework was developed to validate social application use rather than relying on organisers ‘self-appraisal’ of use. Using the framework, a systematic analysis of the events’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages was conducted. The ICT adoption characteristics by respondents were correlated with their social media best practice results through linear regression. A positive relationship was shown between adoption variables and social media use.  The findings aligned with existing ICT adoption research. The results showed events that exhibit the ICT adoption variables more positively presented a higher best practice score of social media. However, despite the positive relationship exhibited, community event respondents, overall, had only low to satisfactory use of social media. The best practice social media use was influenced by the difference between community events and competitive businesses. For example, community events often have limited resources due to their reliance on donations, grants and volunteer support. Structured business processes and strategy are not formalised due to their non-profitable or non-competitive motives. In addition, the timing of community event delivery affect staff availability and task completion. This influenced challenges towards successfully adopting and using social media to support community events.  This thesis identifies the importance of validating applications use when applying ICT adoption theories to research. The social media best practice framework developed provides preliminary measures to understand social media usage which could be applied to different business environments. Further understanding of community event’s resource availability, staffing and recruitment processes and timing will enable a greater understanding of factors that can influence adoption of systems in less traditional contexts. Findings and recommendations provided within this thesis will support community events use of social media. This ensures community events are relevant and obtain the benefits of being present within the growing social media environment.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Tourism Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Tourism Management

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Victoria Management School

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Business School (Faculty of Commerce)


Smith, Karen