Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication & Theatre Arts


Lifespan and Digital Communication

Committee Director

Tim J. Anderson

Committee Member

Thomas J. Socha

Committee Member

Gary A. Beck

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C47 B43 2013


This thesis is a qualitative study of the major societal institutions' social media policies. Three features are compared-length, readability, and legal orientation and punitive degree-in order to determine the homogeneity of the policies across the institutional categories. The top ten words featured in the policies, from highest weighted percentage to lowest, are the following: social, use, media, post, sites, content, personal, policy, communication, and web. The shortest policy length was 274 words. The longest policy was 36,036 words and the collective average word count was 2,571. The lowest reading level, based on the Gunning Fog Readability Index was 8.21, the highest was 21. 97, and the collective average was 12.31. Finally, there was a high reference rate to the word "law" and its synonyms and the policies used "prohibit" more than "discourage."


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