Effects of Social Media On Social Movements media such as broadening audiences, expanding movement niche, and examine specific examples of social movements aided by social media. Review of Literature Broadening Audience Base with Social Media The growth of social media has given social movement activists a new platform to perform from. Today, the internet and social media is readily available to most of the world and it is difficult to find someone who is not on some form of social media. These networks connect users internationally and also gives them the opportunity to quickly view and respond to any post of their choosing, even if it was made by someone on the other side of the world. (Hwang and Kim 2015) conducted a study on college students and the relation between their social media use and their intention to participate in social movements, in which they analyzed how the students use their social media. They found that since the platforms are utilized daily and so quickly, the students have taken part in social movements using “keyboard –activism” (Hwang and Kim, 2015). Social movement participation is mostly shown on social media platforms because responding online replaces any kind of physical participation in a rally, march or event. The researchers also explored Ball-Rokeach and DeFleur’s (1976)‘individual media-dependency theory’ (Hwang and Kim, 2015); the theory that people depend on getting their information strictly from the media. This builds on the idea that social media users are more likely to participate in online activism on the specific media outlet where they get their information from. Social media is so popularly utilized within social movements because there is little to no commitment in what is being posted or commented on. (Esitti, 2016) argued the theory of “narcotizing dysfunction”, which suggests that as mass media inundates people on a particular issue, they become apathetic to it, substituting knowledge for action. This is because the online 4
Effects of Social Media On Social Movements platform is less time consuming, collaborative, costly and decentralized than traditional forms of activism. The theory supported the researcher’s idea that even though new media is useful for activists to get organized, generate ideas, and disseminate the information quickly during the times of unrest, it may shy these users away from active participation and drive them to become “passive” protestors. Although they might be observed as “passive” protestors, many conversations, debates, and responses have been developing because of the two-way communication social media provides for us today. Previously, activists only had a few ways to get information, and there was no way to passively respond or fact check the sources. Now it is possible to quietly respond and post information of their choosing from the comfort of their own home; it gives social media users a whole new perspective on freedom of speech.
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- Fall '16
- Dr. Tressa Kelly