Is YouTube a driver for social movements like Occupy Wall Street?

October 29, 2013

Social media such as YouTube videos provide a popular and flexible venue for online activism. How two different social protest movements—Occupy Wall Street and the Proposition 8 same sex marriage initiative—utilized YouTube, and their success in engaging activists are explored in an article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Emily Vraga, PhD and coauthors from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), Georgetown University (Washington, DC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) emphasize an important advantage of YouTube videos for the purpose of social and political activism: they can be shared easily, quickly, and effectively through a variety of mechanisms, including other forms of social media, email, and print media.

The article "The Rules of Engagement: Comparing Two Social Protest Movements on YouTube" compares how two disparate political movements used YouTube to define and advance their goals. The study shows that activism resulted in differing degrees of popularity and engagement, perhaps related to the content of the videos and to the different online environments in which they appear.

"As YouTube matures, and additional tools evolve, it is interesting to note how these tools may be used by individual citizens as well as political activists to advance their goals," says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA.

Explore further: Are young people who join social media protests more likely to protest offline too?

More information: The article is available free on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

Related Stories

Is YouTube an effective research tool?

May 29, 2013

YouTube has more than 10 million unique users a month who are younger than 18 years of age, making it an ideal online environment in which to study the impact of various media content and peer feedback on adolescents. A series ...

Recommended for you

Four pre-Inca tombs found in Peru's Lima

November 27, 2015

Archaeologists in Peru have found four tombs that are more than 1,000 years old in a pyramid-shaped cemetery that now sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Lima, experts said.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.