The symbol of social media in contemporary protest: Twitter and the Gezi Park movement
journal contributionposted on 21.09.2020, 10:52 by Olu Jenzen, Itir Erhart, Hande Eslen-Ziya, Umut Korkut, Aidan McGarry
This article explores how Twitter has emerged as a signifier of contemporary protest. Using the concept of ‘social media imaginaries’, a derivative of the broader field of ‘media imaginaries’, our analysis seeks to offer new insights into activists’ relation to and conceptualisation of social media and how it shapes their digital media practices. Extending the concept of media imaginaries to include analysis of protestors’ use of aesthetics, it aims to unpick how a particular ‘social media imaginary’ is constructed and informs their collective identity. Using the Gezi Park protest of 2013 as a case study, it illustrates how social media became a symbolic part of the protest movement by providing the visualised possibility of imagining the movement. In previous research, the main emphasis has been given to the functionality of social media as a means of information sharing and a tool for protest organisation. This article seeks to redress this by directing our attention to the role of visual communication in online protest expressions and thus also illustrates the role of visual analysis in social movement studies.
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The Aesthetics of Protest: Visual Culture and Communication in Turkey
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- Loughborough University London