Black Lives Matter and the Effects of a Social Media User's Connection to Differing Ethnic and Racial Backgrounds
Millions of citizens, including a large number of whites, joined the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the summer of 2020. An important factor that mobilized them toward BLM was the rise of social media. Recognizing the critical importance of social media, the present research explores the link between social media use and citizens’ behavior on the BLM movement in the United States. The focus of the analysis is on the issue of diversity. Because diversity on social networks can expose individuals to more diverse views, one can hypothesize that a higher number of one’s "friends" and followers being from different racial and ethnic backgrounds can lead to higher levels of activism in the BLM movement. In order to test the hypotheses, we conducted a survey in the United States specifically tailored for this study. A statistical analysis on the survey data reveals that diversity in one's social networks on social media significantly enhances his or her likelihood of participation in the BLM protest. Yet, the significant effect disappears when the samples are limited to white respondents; it is clearly non-white respondents who are driving the significant result of diversity of social networks. This study makes an important contribution to the literature of social movements by dissecting the mechanism through which social media shapes citizens’ relations with BLM. Findings from this study generate critical implications that are essential in understanding dynamics of social movements in modern society.
Helfrich, Ashley and Machida, Satoshi
"Black Lives Matter and the Effects of a Social Media User's Connection to Differing Ethnic and Racial Backgrounds,"
Journal of Political Science: Vol. 50:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.coastal.edu/jops/vol50/iss1/2
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