Social media and symbolic action: Exploring participation in the facebook red equal sign profile picture campaign

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Abstract

This study investigates symbolic action on popular social media platforms by empirically exploring the subjective experiences and motivations of participants in an exemplary campaign. Previous debates regarding the relationship between symbolic action and more traditional forms of political participation suggest a binary between up-the-ladder "civic culture" engagement and down-the-ladder "slacktivism." Interviews with participants in the Facebook red equal sign profile picture campaign for marriage equality provide some evidence to support the former (particularly in terms of building an identity-focused political movement), and comparatively little to support the latter. However, a third model suggests how sympathetic citizens who would not otherwise take on organizational commitments are brought into the circle of participation by contributing to aggregate projects of mediated public advocacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-66
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Computer‐Mediated Communication
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Activism
  • Politics
  • Qualitative
  • Social Practice

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