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An evaluation on the use of social media in organizing protests

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This paper explores the use of social media in online protesting, looking at protests related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people rights emerging around the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Whereas earlier research focused on one social media platform alone (Ye, Fang, He & Hsieh, 2012; Valenzuela, Park & Kee, 2009) or on social media users as a single group (Hogan & Quan-Haase, 2010), this research tries to find differences between protesters using Twitter and those favoring Facebook. A survey was conducted to obtain insights on which of the two social media platforms is favored, on protest commitment of its users and on the level and modalities of content contribution. This study found that protesters using Twitter viewed, shared and created content more often than those using Facebook, but that Facebook proved to be the platform where the amount of viewed LGBT-related content was higher for those that had participated in a protest before as well as for those that had not.
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  RUNNING HEAD: THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ORGANIZING PROTESTS An Evaluation on the Use of Social Media in Organizing Protests Alexander P. T. Greven Tilburg University Author Note Alexander Greven, Bachelor student at Department of Humanities of Tilburg University. This thesis is part of the Bachelor program Communication and Information Sciences. Supervisors are Dr. S. Milan and Dr. R. Cozijn. February 2014  THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ORGANIZING PROTESTS  ii Abstract   This paper explores the use of social media in online protesting, looking at protests related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people rights emerging around the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Whereas earlier research focused on one social media platform alone (Ye, Fang, He & Hsieh, 2012; Valenzuela, Park & Kee, 2009) or on social media users as a single group (Hogan & Quan-Haase, 2010), this research tries to find differences between protesters using Twitter and those favoring Facebook. A survey was conducted to obtain insights on which of the two social media platforms is favored, on protest commitment of its users and on the level and modalities of content contribution. This study found that protesters using Twitter viewed, shared and created content more often than those using Facebook, but that Facebook proved to be the platform where the amount of viewed LGBT-related content was higher for those that had  participated in a protest before as well as for those that had not. Keywords : Social media, online protesting, LGBT  , cloud protesting.    THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ORGANIZING PROTESTS iii   TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Abstract  ..................................................................................................................................................... ii CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1 CHAPTER 2 - LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................................ 4 Introduction  ............................................................................................................................................. 4 Social Movements  .................................................................................................................................. 4 LGBT Movements  .................................................................................................................................. 6 The Russian Scenario  ............................................................................................................................. 7 Social Networking in a Nutshell  ........................................................................................................... 8 Content sharing and attitude tools on Twitter and Facebook   ......................................................... 10 A Social Approach to Protesting Online  ........................................................................................... 11 CHAPTER 3 - RESEARCH DESIGN ........................................................................................... 16 Research (sub) questions  ..................................................................................................................... 16 Instrumentation  ..................................................................................................................................... 16 Participants  ............................................................................................................................................ 17 Procedure  ............................................................................................................................................... 19 Data Analysis  ........................................................................................................................................ 19 CHAPTER 4 - RESULTS .............................................................................................................. 21 Use of Social Media in Protesting  ...................................................................................................... 21 Respondents’ Participation in and Attitudes Towards Street and Online Protests  ...................... 24 CHAPTER 5 - DISCUSSION ........................................................................................................ 27  THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ORGANIZING PROTESTS iv   Exploring The Results  .......................................................................................................................... 27 Exposure for Twitter and Facebook ........................................................................................ 27 Commitment towards LGBT causes for Twitter and Facebook ............................................. 27 Content Distribution for Twitter and Facebook ...................................................................... 28 Explanation Of The Results  ................................................................................................................ 28 Recommendations ................................................................................................................................. 29 Limitations  ............................................................................................................................................. 29 Suggestions for Further Research  ....................................................................................................... 30 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................... 31 APPENDIX ....................................................................................................................... ………38
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