Analyzing Twitter and Instagram social networks to trace consumer opinion regarding transparency in the apparel supply chain
The heightened demand for apparel supply-chain transparency, advent of social media, and its increased usage in sustainability campaigns has created new opportunities to understand the public’s perspective toward sustainability issues. Through social network analysis, this study aims to utilize the large-scale user-generated data on social media to gain a deeper understanding of the public’s views concerning apparel supply chain transparency. Grounded in small-world theory and the strength of weak ties theory that explains structure of a social network and mechanism of information flow, this study utilizes the #whomademyclothes campaign on Twitter and Instagram as the research context. The analysis of social networks formed by the hashtags in 17,030 Instagram posts and 4,530 Twitter tweets revealed that the public associates sustainability with working condition improvements, environmental protection, community development, and transparency enhancement in the apparel supply-chain. Theses clusters were interpreted through the lens of the moral spectrum of moral responsibility framework of corporate sustainability. The findings revealed that both Twitter and Instagram users considered working condition improvement as the primary duty to fulfill. While Instagram users were more inclined towards community development, Twitter users supported environmental protection. Findings also revealed the emotion-driven Instagram community as compared to facts-driven Twitter community. This study contributes to the literature by providing a foundation for the use of social network analysis to analyze user-generated social-media data.