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Contextual Analysis of Hashtag Activism
for the Purpose of Identifying Ideal Types
Matthew Hartwell and Brian Lowe
SUNY On...
Background
• Joel Best – Social Problems (2013)
• Constructivist Approach to Social issues
• Claims making and Claims Make...
Twitter
• Electronic forum for the exchange of ideas.
• Limited to 140 characters per tweet, forces being concise.
• Limit...
The Hashtag (#)
• Serves the function within Twitter content to
• sort and allow for the search of specific concepts.
• Ha...
The Question(s)?
• What types of claims are being made with Hashtag Activism?
• How do claims made utilizing Hashtag Activ...
Methodology
• Gathering Campaigns done with convenience and
snowball sampling.
• While hashtags allow for sorting/searchin...
Methodology
• Cases chosen on the following criteria:
• Must use the Hashtag (#)/Slogan format for the campaign.
• Campaig...
Methodology
• Data Collection:
• Collection of Twitter data utilizing available tools
(Trackur.com) following the identifi...
Methodology
• Incorporating Big Data (Data Analysis):
• Qualitative and word count analysis to search for co-
occurrence o...
Findings
• Three Commonalities in presentation of the claim to all cases.
• Victim: Who was harmed by the social problem, ...
Organizing Campaigns
• Scope of social problem
• Relationship between victim and villain defines “size” of issue
from indi...
Scale for organizing social problems
• These four categories become
• Systemic/Material
• Broad, Long term issues of inequality or health issues, requiring
phy...
Implications
• Understanding the form claims are made that utilize Hashtags,
is the first step in studying what factors ma...
Contextual analysis of hashtag activism for the purpose of identifying ideal types
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Contextual analysis of hashtag activism for the purpose of identifying ideal types

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By Matthew Hartwell and Brian Lowe (SUNY Oneonta)

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Contextual analysis of hashtag activism for the purpose of identifying ideal types

  1. 1. Contextual Analysis of Hashtag Activism for the Purpose of Identifying Ideal Types Matthew Hartwell and Brian Lowe SUNY Oneonta Spring 2015
  2. 2. Background • Joel Best – Social Problems (2013) • Constructivist Approach to Social issues • Claims making and Claims Makers • Clifford Bob – The Marketing of Rebellion (2005) • Groups reliant on outside support of NGOs/International support must tailor their agenda to win that support over competing groups. • Resource competition and not ideological competition. • Moises Naim – The End of Power (2013) • Power runs through four channels : Muscle, Pitch, Code, Reward • Digital technology has granted access to channels of power to under resourced.
  3. 3. Twitter • Electronic forum for the exchange of ideas. • Limited to 140 characters per tweet, forces being concise. • Limited oversight of content allows for wide range of ideas. • Demographically important for Claims Makers. • Nearly a billion Twitter accounts, • Approximately 271 million active users monthly, • 52.7 million in the United States • Largest age group is 18-35 (ExpandedRamblings.com).
  4. 4. The Hashtag (#) • Serves the function within Twitter content to • sort and allow for the search of specific concepts. • Hashtag Activism • The use of a hashtag (#) followed by a three to five word slogan written without spaces, that serves as the branding of a claim of a social problem. • Examples: • #BringBackOurGirls • #ALSIceBucketChallenge • #FreeTibet
  5. 5. The Question(s)? • What types of claims are being made with Hashtag Activism? • How do claims made utilizing Hashtag Activism work? • How can claims be categorized and classified?
  6. 6. Methodology • Gathering Campaigns done with convenience and snowball sampling. • While hashtags allow for sorting/searching, there is no “list” of hashtag campaigns available. • “Brute force” method of scanning twitter feeds and other social media (Facebook) for pages and accounts related to organizations that are involved in social problems activism. • Following leads from one organization or campaign to affiliated campaigns for further cases.
  7. 7. Methodology • Cases chosen on the following criteria: • Must use the Hashtag (#)/Slogan format for the campaign. • Campaigns must use Twitter social media services to make their claim. (Only Twitter data used for analysis) • The claims maker must be presenting a claim for a social problem, and not commercial or personal gain.
  8. 8. Methodology • Data Collection: • Collection of Twitter data utilizing available tools (Trackur.com) following the identification of a campaign. • Each Tweet in the data set was coded automatically by the Trackur.com software with: • Date • Source (Twitter) • Title • Content • Data stored on server space provided by the VIDIA learning environment through the CCR at SUNY Buffalo.
  9. 9. Methodology • Incorporating Big Data (Data Analysis): • Qualitative and word count analysis to search for co- occurrence of terms and phrases for analysis of discourse. • Facilitated through use of RapidMiner analytics software provided again through the VIDIA learning environment. • RapidMiner provides- • Word count for each term within the data set both • In total • Number of tweets that term appears in. • Effectively coding the terms within large data sets allowing content analysis on a large scale within a cost and time efficient frame.
  10. 10. Findings • Three Commonalities in presentation of the claim to all cases. • Victim: Who was harmed by the social problem, and framed in a violation of sets of shared morality or norms. • Villain: A perpetrator of the violation, or more abstractly an institution that allowed the harms to exist or occur. • Call to Action: A solution to the harm either through action, changing of behavior/norms, or donation of resources.
  11. 11. Organizing Campaigns • Scope of social problem • Relationship between victim and villain defines “size” of issue from individualistic to systemic and immediate to long term. • Assistance requested • The type of aid requested by the call to action can be evaluated from material (money, goods, action) to non-material (legislation, social acceptance).
  12. 12. Scale for organizing social problems
  13. 13. • These four categories become • Systemic/Material • Broad, Long term issues of inequality or health issues, requiring physical support of monetary donations or people’s presence at rallies/marches. • Systemic/Non-Material • Broad, Long term issues of inequality or injustice, requiring legislation and attitudinal changes to change behavior. • Individualistic/Material • Micro-level instances of social problems that are examples of broader issues, requiring action to support the individual/individuals through petitions, and donations. • Individualistic/Non-Material • Micro-level instances of social problems that are examples of broader issues, requiring attitudinal and cognitive changes to change behavior.
  14. 14. Implications • Understanding the form claims are made that utilize Hashtags, is the first step in studying what factors may contribute to the success of these claims. • The ability to classify claims based on inherent factors such as scope and assistance requested allows for a system to categorize and track claims that are being made. • Knowledge of what claims are being made, and how claims are made is fundamental to those who wish to contribute to addressing social problems, informing and protecting those without insider knowledge against harmful claims, and assisting those tasked with solving social problems (lawmakers, activists, charity organizations, social workers).

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