Conferences & Publications

Before I started working as a digital marketer, I researched the uses and gratifications of social media as part of my graduate studies at the University of Central Florida. Here is my most recent publication on how students and activists utilize social media.

Shaping Student Activists: Discursive Sensemaking of Activism and Participation Research

“As social media becomes a more potent force in society, particularly for younger generations, the role in activism has been contested. This qualitative study examines 35 interviews with students regarding their perceptions of the use of social media in social change, their perceptions of activists, and their level of self-identification as an activist. Data suggest that students use media to engage in offline participation in activist causes, because offline presents a “safe” place to begin their involvement. Findings also point to the unified pejorative connotations of the term “activist”, yet also demonstrate ways that students transform the negative stereotype of activists in a way that creates a more positive image of activists. Most participants in the study were able to see sufficient positive characteristics in behaviors they associated with activism to prompt the students to identify themselves as “activists” or “aspiring activists”. We offer 3 practical recommendations for teachers who seek to increase service learning vis a vis activism in their classrooms.”

Publication Date: Dec 2015

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v15i6.13820

Influence of Social Networking on Activism and Perception of Activists

Activists increasingly use social networking sites to mobilize and organize for social causes. This study examines the relationship between students’ connections on social networking sites and their participation in causes offline, in addition to their perception of activists. A convenience sample of thirty-five students at a large southeastern university was interviewed. Research findings showed that students were more likely to participate in a cause offline if their friends were also attending the event. Facebook, in contrast to other social networking sites, was found to be most effective for facilitating mobilization efforts. Consistent with these findings, students who were part of a social network in which people espoused activist sympathies were more likely to hold favorable perceptions of activists, though not necessarily embrace the label for themselves. While nearly all participants agreed that the label ‘activist’ carried a stigma, some participants were more readily identified with the label than others. Despite Facebook’s mobilization efficacy, many participants reported feeling less comfortable voicing their political opinions on Facebook in contrast to Twitter, Tumblr, or Reddit.
Presented at the National Communication Association and the Florida Communication Association
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