Occupy Oakland and #oo : uses of Twitter within the Occupy movement

Croeser, Sky & Highfield, Tim (2014) Occupy Oakland and #oo : uses of Twitter within the Occupy movement. First Monday, 19(3).

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Abstract

Social media have become crucial tools for political activists and protest movements, providing another channel for promoting messages and garnering support. Twitter, in particular, has been identified as a noteworthy medium for protests in countries including Iran and Egypt to receive global attention. The Occupy movement, originating with protests in, and the physical occupation of, Wall Street, and inspiring similar demonstrations in other U.S. cities and around the world, has been intrinsically linked with social media through location-specific hashtags: #ows for Occupy Wall Street, #occupysf for San Francisco, and so on. While the individual protests have a specific geographical focus-highlighted by the physical occupation of parks, buildings, and other urban areas-Twitter provides a means for these different movements to be linked and promoted through tweets containing multiple hashtags. It also serves as a channel for tactical communications during actions and as a space in which movement debates take place.

This paper examines Twitter's use within the Occupy Oakland movement. We use a mixture of ethnographic research through interviews with activists and participant observation of the movements' activities, and a dataset of public tweets containing the #oo hashtag from early 2012. This research methodology allows us to develop a more accurate and nuanced understanding of how movement activists use Twitter by cross-checking trends in the online data with observations and activists' own reported use of Twitter. We also study the connections between a geographically focused movement such as Occupy Oakland and related, but physically distant, protests taking place concurrently in other cities. This study forms part of a wider research project, Mapping Movements, exploring the politics of place, investigating how social movements are composed and sustained, and the uses of online communication within these movements.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 70055
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Occupy Oakland, Twitter, Place, Social Movements, Occupy Wall Street
DOI: 10.5210/fm.v19i3.4827
ISSN: 1396-0466
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Studies (200101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Media Studies (200104)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2014, First Monday.
Copyright © 2014, Sky Croeser and Tim Highfield.
Deposited On: 09 Apr 2014 23:27
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 00:29

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