Twitter, Social Support Messages, and the #MeToo Movement

Alec R. Hosterman, Naomi R. Johnson, Ryan Stouffer, Steven Herring

Abstract


Since 2006 the phrase “Me Too” has been used to empower survivors of sexual abuse and assault. In October 15, 2017 the phrase spread to Twitter with the use of the hashtag by Alyssa Milano. In this content analysis of the use of the hashtag on Twitter, social support theory was applied to categorize the types of tweets communicated. The results indicated informational support messages were the most popular type of content tweeted by both individuals and organizations.  The research argues for a new type of social support categorization, named directive support, to categorize messages that communicate a call for collective action to address larger issues that contribute to sexual violence and harassment. Implications related for weak-tie relationships for both victims and those who respond to them are discussed.


Keywords


social support theory, Twitter, #MeToo, content analysis, sexual assault, sexual violence, weak-tie relationships

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References


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