The Online Social Movement of #NeverAgain: How Social Networks Build a Sense of Membership, Influence, Support and Emotional Connection on Twitter

Neil Alperstein, Tina Jones

Abstract


The purpose of this research is to better understand the ways in which social media is utilized to further political and social causes. The research focuses on the aftermath of the 2018 shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida and the rise of the #NeverAgain movement. The study takes a social networks approach to look at a social movement that forms on and through the use of social media. As social and political movements develop, social networks form not as monolithic communities but rather operate in the guise of clusters and niches based on particular interests or the situational relevance of the issue. The research, based on an analysis of 100 thousand tweets that utilized the #NeverAgain hashtag, found four categories of tweets that ranged from spreading information to sharing personal stories. A sentiment analysis was conducted that indicated that language was contextual, meaning that an overtly negative term might be utilized in a more positive vein. Data visualizations demonstrate how social networks while lead by elite, non-elite and core moderators, also represent diffused groups that are comprised of weak ties. 


Keywords


social network analysis, social and political movements, Twitter, #NeverAgain

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References


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