Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


School of Communication and Media

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Yi Luo

Committee Member

Bond Benton

Committee Member

Philip Bakelaar


An organization using humor on social media can potentially engage in dialogue through participatory boundary-work that creates an in-group between themselves and their online user publics. The ability for an organization to use humor to form that in-group, where dialogic communication is achievable, is based on the organization’s ability to produce an instance of shared mirth with their online publics. The shared experience of mirth not only determines if the organization reaches shared meaning with their receiver publics, but also indicates who the humor is intended for, and who will be left out of the in-group created. To determine the potential for humor to facilitate organizational-public relationships on social media, this thesis conducted a case study analysis to determine if humor forms affected the dialogic communication between KFC and their online user publics. This study found that KFC leverages the context-collapsed spaces of social media to collaborate on humorous messaging with their online publics, by using humor that was simple, required familiarity with few frameworks of knowledge, and generally related to their core products. These co-created humor messages were facilitated through dialogic tools, demonstrating the potential capacity for humor to affect the presence of dialogic communication within the organizational-public relational context on social media.

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