Brooke Foucault Welles
The proliferation of social media has given rise to widespread study and speculation about the impact of digital technologies on politics, activism, and social change. Key among these debates is the role social media play in shaping the contemporary public sphere, and by proxy, our societies. Maligned by some as “slacktivism,” I will argue social media platforms such as Twitter create unique opportunities for often-excluded voices to challenge the terms of public debate. Using the evidence from Twitter hashtag networks such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, I will demonstrate how hashtag activism complements other forms of activism to change the terms of mainstream public debates about race and gender justice in the United States.
This talk is based on my book #HashtagActivism (co-authored with Sarah J. Jackson and Moya Bailey), which is available for free download from MIT Press direct: https://direct.mit.edu/books/book/4597/HashtagActivismNetworks-of-Race-and-Gender-Justice
Brooke Foucault Welles is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies in the College of Arts, Media and Design. Her research examines how social networks shape behavior, including how individuals identify resources within their social networks and leverage them to achieve personal and organizational goals.