Monitoring Social Movements Messages through Social Media Sites


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Abu-Ayyash, S 2013, ‘Examining Social Movements Messages Through Social Media Sites’, paper presented at the Media Monitoring in the Digital Age Symposium, Galway, 23-24 May

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Monitoring Social Movements Messages through Social Media Sites

  1. 1. Media Monitoring in the Digital Age SymposiumThursday 23 & Friday 24 May 2013Examining Social Movements MessagesThrough Social Media SitesMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  2. 2. Social Movements & Networking through Social MediaManuel Castells- (Networked Social Movements)offers connectivity, sharing and‘feeling togetherness’- (Autonomous Networks) “By engaging inthe production of mass media messages, and bydeveloping autonomous networks of horizontalcommunication, citizens of the Information Agebecome able to invent new programs for theirlives with the materials of theirsuffering, fears, dreams and hopes” (Castells2012, p.9)- Effective tools for:mobilising, organising, and deciding- Maintain communication channelsamong movement membersJan Van Dijk- (Information) Knowledge Networks:exchange of information- (Change) ICTs are threat to traditionaltotalitarian political systems thatcontrol flow of information- (Mobilisation) Powerful tools formobilising- (Counter Information Campaigns)Used by totalitarian regimes todistribute their message- “Social Media in themselves will notcause democratic revolutions”. (Dijk2012, p. 136)Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  3. 3. Egypt: #25Jan1) We are all Khaled Said page on Facebook- Before the Revolution: Information about mistreatment of citizens inpolice stations; place for expressing outrage; calls for on ground activities-After the Start of Occupy Tahrir Square: the page along with other similarpages provided information, hourly updates from Tharir Square; encouragedfollowers to support the protesters2) YouTube: Activist Asma Mamhouz call for protesting-Criticising the brutality of the police; asking people to support her andher colleagues in their aim of expressing their demands; calling for politicalaccountability of the regime-Political message, mixed with emotions-A clear aim: calling for a change, a revolution like TunisiaMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  4. 4. Palestine Solidarity Movement in IrelandThe work of the solidarity groups could be classified under two levels:1) On-going campaigns that focus on- Raising awareness of the Palestinian cause (online websites, socialmedia, on ground activities, stalls)- Organising visits to Palestine- Supporting the BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions againstIsrael) campaign- Lobbying media, politicians and decision makers in favour of thePalestinian people rights2) Responding to major incidents occur in Palestine (such as recentattack on Gaza, Palestinian prisoners hunger strike)- Organising demonstrations and protests- Contacting local media and MPs- Galvanising online campaigns through social media sitesMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  5. 5. Study CaseQuestion:Examining political discourse of the pro-Palestine in Ireland during the Palestiniansprisoners in Israeli jails hunger strike between January and April 2013:- Facebook pages content- Nature of content (news, call of on-ground activity, lobbying decision makers)- Similarities and differences of used terms, messages and content- Number of posts related to on-ground /offline activitiesMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  6. 6. Data Collection• Data were extracted from the selected groups’ Facebook pages using Nvivosoftware• Material posted only by the group admins were analysed , excluding othercontent posted by group members/pages fans• Studied groups are local, national and university based groups, and non-activegroups online were excluded form the analysis• Content classified into categories: violation of prisoners rights (human rights);illegality of their imprisonment ; onground activities and call for solidarityactivities; or sharing news about the hunger strikersMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  7. 7. Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC): HQ in Dublin, has branches in mostIrish cities; active in organising protests, cultural activities, lobbying and BDScampaigns. Around 4200 members on FB pageMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  8. 8. Act for Palestine: Dublin based groups active in organising constant protests inthe city.4300 members on FB page.Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  9. 9. Sadaka - the Ireland Palestine Alliance: The Dublin based organisation focuses onlobbying politicians and NGOs; active in issuing fact finding reports. 1200members on FB page.Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  10. 10. Cork Palestina Solidarity Campaign: the Cork branch of the IPSC. Around 1400members on FB page.Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  11. 11. Limerick IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign). Limerick branch ofIPSC; has 425 members on FB page.Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  12. 12. Derry/Irish Friends of Palestine: Most active group in Northern Ireland;constantly updating it s Facebook page content with materials related to its on-ground activities. Around 6 thousand members on FB page.Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  13. 13. PrioritiesMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age024681012PrisonersNewsHumanRightsViolationsOn-groundActivitiesOnlineActionMediaAdvocacyIllegalDetentionIPSC HQIPSC CorkSadakaLimerick IPSCAct for Palestine
  14. 14. Prisoners News• Using mainly Palestinian news sources•Focusing on illegality of detaining political activists; right of prisoners to usehunger strike as a protesting method•Shows the human side of the cause (suffering of political prisoners and hungerstrikers)•Reports from human rights institutions•Publishing of local, regional and international solidarity activities•Using images and cartoonsMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  15. 15. On-ground Activities-Groups use facebook as channel of communicating with their members-Activates are organised on both local and national-Protesters call for end of imprisoning Palestinian, supporting the hunger strikersrights, while ending the Israeli occupation is usually the main message-Main events are usually organising demonstrations in major cities-Link the cause with the Irish context (the Irish hungers strikers experience)Media Monitoring in the Digital Age
  16. 16. Conclusion- Facebook used as news platforms to spread the news about the cause-Used as tool for announcing past and future local activities-Raising awareness by focusing on the illegal and human sides (suffering, prisoners familiesnews, health conditions)-Link it with local dimensions and context-Similar groups do not necessarily coordinate their efforts (different level of onlineactivity, and priorities are always not the same)-Less dedication to media advocacy and decision makers lobbyingMedia Monitoring in the Digital Age
  17. 17. Thank YouShadi Abu-AyyashHuston School of Film & Digital Media,NUI Galwayshadi.abu-ayyash@nuigalway.ie