Lawson, C., Doerfert, D., & Filson, C. (2021). State FFA association use of Instagram to promote membership diversity. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(2), 97-118. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.02097
While it presents many opportunities, the National FFA Organization faces a variety of obstacles
toward achieving a more diverse membership. Research has recognized the role of social identity, or
the way a person perceives belongingness to a larger group, in how individuals select groups for
hopeful inclusion. Photos indicate who is part of a group and can elicit attitudes and emotions toward
an organization. Recent statistics show teenager use of Instagram, a mobile photo sharing application,
has increased while other social media applications have declined. This qualitative study analyzed the
frequency and themes presented by state FFA associations through their Instagram accounts to
promote a diverse membership through an ethnographic approach. A total of 434 Instagram posts
featuring diversity were identified throughout the 52 state FFA associations. Of those, state FFA
associations with a minimum of 25% overall diversity posts were further analyzed to determine themes.
The most common theme within the diversity posts was “participation,” which included student
involvement in contests, conventions, or conferences. This study illustrates variability in the diversity
efforts of state FFA associations in their Instagram accounts, and the need to highlight and promote a
diverse membership on a consistent and intentional basis.