Date of Award/Publication

Spring 4-16-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

First Supervisor

Dr. Wendi Sierra

Abstract

Is Twitter a modern tool for mobilizing a social movement and inciting calls to action that are comparable to those of the past?

In many cases, the root cause of past social movements has involved some type of economic downturn, and groups of disgruntled people came together to form an opposition. Rhetorical language was ultimately used to steer the mobilization and calls to action. Similarly, social movements have predominantly been based on the idea of utilizing a single orator – one identifiable individual to help mobilize the collective ideologies and beliefs of a social group. In general, this formula has created mostly negative interactions and eventual outcomes.

Today, modern technology conflicts with this traditional value of rhetoric, as internet-based social media platforms, such as Twitter, have become the contemporary tool for not only the creation of, but eventual expansion of a social movement. In 2011, on the heels of the 2008 recession, people began to grow tired of the unequal distribution of wealth in America. In the case of the #OccupyWallSt movement of 2011 and 2012, Twitter was essentially the only tool utilized by the group to both mobilize and call to action.

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