Recent research of interest groups’ use of Twitter focuses on its use for intra-group member mobilization. Little has been said so far about social media’s effects on the discourse within an issue community. Do interest groups that are part of a larger community, but whose positions divert from each other, use Twitter to talk to each other? Do they challenge each other’s views, attempt to build bridges, and form coalitions? Or do organizations tweet in order to reinforce existing views, while ignoring alternative perspectives?
Our research explores whether groups within a defined issue community - American Jewish organizations advocating on the issue of U.S.-Israel relations - use Twitter and its communication tools for dialog with each other, or whether their Twitter networks represent echo chambers. We find that the use of Twitter is more complex than the black-and-white narrative of echo chamber vs. public sphere suggests. Studies of Twitter use by organizations need to recognize that different forms of communicating on Twitter (tweets, retweets, replies, and mentions) serve different purposes. In the community we analyze groups interact with both supporters and detractors, using different tools - but on balance the results of our analysis support the echo chamber representation.