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The Department of Communication Studies offers many kinds of events, most free and open to the public. We organize and sponsor numerous lectures, workshops and conferences over the course of the academic year. Our programming covers a wide range of topics and features presenters from diverse disciplines and is designed to foster an understanding of the mass media and emerging media.


The Measure of a Movement: Quantifying Black Lives Matter’s Social Media Power

Deen Freelon is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University, Washington, DC.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
4:00-5:30 PM
5450 North Quad Map
Use of social media by social movements has grown into a thriving research topic over the past decade. Yet the field currently lacks a theoretically-grounded and empirically sound means of measuring the power social movements can exert through social media. Further, much existing work focuses primarily or exclusively on the movements themselves, ignoring the adversarial and monitorial participants who interact with movement participants online. Understanding how these disparate interests jockey for narrative and framing power over time is essential to understanding how social movements succeed and fail in their uses of social media. In this talk, I will introduce a multifaceted, largely quantitative metric of social media power based on Charles Tilly’s notion of WUNC (worthiness, unity, numbers, commitment) that can be applied to all parties to movement-related social media conversations. I will discuss some of the theoretical and practical considerations in computing and interpreting the various components of this metric using 40.8 million tweets about police killings of unarmed Black people.
Building: North Quad
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Discussion
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Communication Studies

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