Social Media And Protest Behavior

1086 WordsOct 6, 20155 Pages
In Unpacking the Use of Social Media for Protest Behavior, Sabastina Valenzuela (2013) investigated the link between the frequency of social media use and engaging in political protests. He argued that there has been an established positive correlation between social media use and civic engagement. Nevertheless, there has been no systematic explanation proposed to account for this relationship. In this article, the authors tried to test three different explanations connecting the frequency of social media use and civic engagement, measured in protest behavior. The article examined three possible mechanisms by which frequency of social media use is linked to protest behavior. First, it tested the proposition suggesting that social media…show more content…
On a theoretical level, the Uses and Gratifications Theory in communications posits that individuals use different media platforms to satisfy their own uses and gratifications. The authors noted that social media used for different reasons, including identity construction, participating in protest movements or simply looking for information are classic uses and gratifications. Social media are found to provide individuals with an opinion extension platform. This expression of opinions offer individuals a way to further process information and increase their interaction with the news around them, which both have been found to be positively correlated with protest behavior. Using classic political science literature, the author posited that more use of social media leads to a higher likelihood of political participation given the investment an individual puts into the enterprise as a whole. Finally, the author suggested that consumers of social media may use it as an instrumental platform where they can advance their own interests. By advancing their interests, they are more likely to engage in political activity including political protest. The content on social media outlets may be used for mobilization making it possible for individuals to use it to serve their own interest by engaging in further political action including political protest or social movements. To test the merits of these explanations linking social media use and protest behavior, the
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