Engaging in the digital age: an analysis of the role of social media in activism and social movements
Schissler, Laura Kate
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During the current digital age and ongoing gargantuan growth of social media in the realm of politics, civic engagement found a new medium to flourish in the form of online activism. Certainty, digital communicative platforms have provided unprecedented access to information as well as public spaces for underrepresented groups and movements. The ability to share and spread information, petitions, and resources in record speed has dismantled barriers to engagement and enabled dialogues among citizens and politicians. However, detractors of online activism question whether this type of participation translates into offline forms of mobilizing. This thesis adopts a bilateral approach to examine two areas of inquiry: On an individual level, in what ways does social media foster engagement in activism? And, from an institutional standpoint, how do digital communicative platforms act as an effective tool to dismantle structural barriers to participation?