The citizen marketer: Promoting political opinion in the social media age

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

50 Scopus citations


From hashtag activism to the flood of political memes on social media, the landscape of political communication is being transformed by the grassroots circulation of opinion on digital platforms and beyond. The Citizen Marketer offers a new framework for understanding this phenomenon by exploring how everyday people assist in the promotion of political media messages in hopes of persuading their peers and shaping the public mind. The analysis is grounded in the firsthand testimony of citizens who have engaged in popular activities such as changing their profile picture to a protest symbol, tweeting links to news articles to raise strategic awareness about select issues, and publicly displaying everything from slogan T-shirts to viral videos that promote a favored electoral candidate. In contrast to the “slacktivism” critique often leveled at these media-based forms of political activity, The Citizen Marketer argues that they enable citizens to take on the potentially influential role of viral political marketers as they participate in the networked dissemination of ideas. Furthermore, the discussion critically examines the promises of the citizen marketer approach for expanding democratic participation and elevating the voices of marginalized groups, as well as the risks that these practices pose for polarization and partisanship, the trivialization of issues, and control and manipulation by elites. By investigating the logics and motivations behind the citizen marketer, as well as how this approach has developed in response to key social, cultural, and technological changes, the book charts the evolution of activism in the age of mediatized politics, promotional culture, and viral circulation.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages250
ISBN (Electronic)9780190658052
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Activism
  • Advocacy
  • Digital marketing
  • Memes
  • Political communication
  • Political marketing
  • Political participation
  • Protest
  • Social media
  • Viral marketing


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