#MarchForOurLives: Mobilization of a Gun Violence Prevention Movement on Twitter
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Social media has been a pivotal tool in the mobilization of social movements in the past century. Digital websites such as Twitter provide a public space for individuals to be informed about current issues and motivated to act based on their personal attitudes and opinions. Though social media activism is flawed, it is a useful tool for the progression and success of social movement behavior.
This research focuses on the mobilization of the gun control movement March for Our Lives on Twitter. The present study uses an unobtrusive content analysis of tweets referencing the hashtag #MarchForOurLives from February 18, 2018 through March 24, 2018 to examine how social media portrays social movement behavior in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The examination of public discourse on social media following a national tragedy can provide evidence of how social media affects social movement activity and protest behavior.
After analyzing 888 tweets, I found that discourse on social media encourages protest activity through political extremism, fearmongering techniques, celebrity involvement, and online protest behavior. While social media fosters a public space for discourse, it also hinders notions of the collective conscience by emphasizing bipartisan disagreements on current issues such as gun violence.