|Commenced in January 1999||Frequency: Monthly||Edition: International||Paper Count: 3|
Social media has become an important source of information for the public and the media profession. Some social issues raised on social media are picked up by journalists to report on other platforms. This relationship between social media and mainstream media can sometimes drive public debate or stimulate social movements. The question to examine is in what situations can social media conversations raise awareness and stimulate change on public issues. This study addresses the communication patterns of social media conversations driving covert issues into mainstream media and leading to social advocacy movements. In methodological terms, the study findings are based on a content analysis of Facebook, Twitter, news websites and television media reports on three different case studies – saving Bryde’s whale, protests against a government proposal to downsize the Office of Knowledge Management and Development in Thailand, and a dengue fever campaign. These case studies were chosen because they represent issues that most members of the public do not pay much attention to but social media conversations stimulated public debate and calls to action. This study found: 1) Collective social media conversations can stimulate public debate and encourage change at three levels – awareness, public debate, and action of policy and social change. The level depends on the communication patterns of online users and media coverage. 2) Patterns of communication have to be designed to combine social media conversations, online opinion leaders, mainstream media coverage and call to both online and offline action to motivate social change. Thus, this result suggests that social media is a powerful platform for collective communication and setting the agenda on public issues for mainstream media. However, for social change to succeed, social media should be used to mobilize online movements to move offline too.
Based on the findings from the study of International Trade Fairs (ITFs), the author analyzes the network of activists in anti-globalism movement. This research focuses the transition of 54 activists’ whole network in the “protest event” against 2008 G8 summit in Japan. Their network is examined at the three periods: Before protest event phase, during protest event phase and after event phase. A mixed method is used in this study: the author shows the hypothesis from social network analysis and evaluates that with interview data analysis. This analysis gives the two results. Firstly, the more protesters participate to the various events during the protest event, the more they build the network. After that, active protesters keep their network as well. From interview data, we can understand that the active protesters can build their network and diffuse the information because they communicate with other participants and understand that diverse issues are related. This paper comes to same conclusion with previous researches: protest events activate the network among the political activists. However, some participants succeed to build their network, others do not. “Networked” activists are participated in the various events for short period of time and encourage the diffusion of information and tactics of social movements.