Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2016

Publication Source

Information, Communication & Society

Volume

19

Issue

3

Start Page

397

Last Page

418

DOI

10.1080/1369118X.2015.1106571

Abstract

On the afternoon of 9 August 2014, 18-year-old Michael ‘Mike’ Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s body lay in the street for four and a half hours, and during that time, his neighbors and friends took to social media to express fear, confusion, and outrage. We locate early tweets about Ferguson and the use of the hashtag #Ferguson at the center of a counterpublic network that provoked and shaped public debates about race, policing, governance, and justice. Extending theory on networked publics, we examine how everyday citizens, followed by activists and journalists, influenced the #Ferguson Twitter network with a focus on emergent counterpublic structure and discursive strategy. We stress the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative methods to identify early initiators of online dissent and story framing. We argue that initiators and their discursive contributions are often missed by methods that collapse longitudinal network data into a single snapshot rather than investigating the dynamic emergence of crowdsourced elites over time.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Information, Communication & Society on 2016, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1106571

Keywords

social media activism, networked counterpublics, network analysis, discourse analysis, policing, ferguson

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Date Posted:06 May 2020