Freelon, McIlwain, and Clark on Hashtags and Black Politics | CMSI

"Stolen Lives" banner, on display during the Ferguson Freeom Ride, September 15, 2014 | Snapped by Jessica Marie Johnson

“Stolen Lives” banner, on display during the Ferguson Freedom Ride, September 15, 2014 | Snapped by Jessica Marie Johnson

 

As though you still needed proof that hashtags can become policy platforms and movements:

“In 2014, A DEDICATED ACTIVIST MOVEMENT—Black Lives Matter (BLM)—ignited an urgent national conversation about police killings of unarmed Black citizens. Online tools have been anecdotally credited as critical in this effort, but researchers are only beginning to evaluate this claim. This research report examines the movement’s uses of online media in 2014 and 2015. To do so, we analyze three types of data: 40.8 million tweets, over 100,000 web links, and 40 interviews of BLM activists and allies….

“In our concluding section, we reflect on the practical importance and implications of our findings. We hope this report contributes to the specific conversation about how Black Lives Matter and related movements have used online tools as well as to broader conversations about the general capacity of such tools to facilitate social and political change.”

Deen Freelon is an assistant professor of communication at American University. Charlton D. McIlwain is an associate professor of media, culture and communication and Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity at New York University. Meredith D. Clark is an assistant professor of digital and print news at the University of North Texas.

A (free) PDF of the report is available here: Beyond the hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the online struggle for offline justice – Center for Media and Social Impact

If you’ve yet to read the Movement 4 Black Lives platform–read it now.

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