Communication in social media. A new source of power : Based on the posts and comments about sustainability on Zara and H&M’s Facebook accounts

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/HLK, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

Abstract: The development of communication technology has also created new structures, able to challenge the traditional power roles of the communicative process. Social media have become a fruitful arena of this change due to their users having the possibility to respond to the producers’ messages. Thus, the traditional lineal structure turns to an interactional one and consequently, the lines become blurred between the roles of the dominant and dominated as assumed by the senders/producers and the receivers respectively. Controversial issues shed light on this ‘battle for power’, such as the sustainability actions and reporting of Zara and H&M. These companies are the leaders of the fast fashion industry; one of the most ‘unsustainable’ fields. Through a critical discourse analysis of the posts that the companies launch on their Facebook-sponsored accounts as well as the comments related to sustainability that they obtain from their users, the communicative process occurring in social media can be assessed. The aim of this analysis is to provide an insight into how the communicative process between sender and receiver in social media creates public opinion and affects the development of sustainability discourse. It has been shown that users have found in social media a powerful tool to challenge the companies’ power: they can comment on the informative product in question. Also the users have taken the sustainability discourse as the required ‘object’ when questioning a product’s reliability. The latter is in some way another means with which to challenge the companies’ power. 

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