Loughborough University
Thesis-2017-Rowe.pdf (7.75 MB)

Social media and campaigning: the challenges and opportunities of incorporating social media into existing anti-airport expansion campaigns

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posted on 2017-06-01, 08:31 authored by Andrew Rowe
Social media has created new protest spaces and has enabled people to do things differently. The focus of the research is on campaign groups, created before social media was used as a tool for protest. It has been undertaken to achieve the aim of the challenges and opportunities of incorporating new forms of social media into existing protest campaigns through a case study of anti-airport expansion groups in the UK. Social media data was obtained from three anti-airport expansion groups which included the extraction of approximately 9,000 tweets and 8,000 Facebook posts. The data were then analysed using social network analysis, time series analysis and semi-structured interviews. The results of social network analysis and time series analysis informed the development of the questions directed at the social media coordinators of each group. The main findings are that Airport Watch and HACAN Clearskies exhibit very similar Twitter networks and favour interaction with the media, similar anti-airport expansion groups and also pro-airport expansion groups. Transition Heathrow demonstrates more varied interaction patterns. All groups dominate their respective Facebook page and group networks apart from HACAN Clearskies which has non-assigned leaders controlling information dissemination in the group. Time series analysis uncovered variations in social media usage; overall for all three campaign groups Twitter was utilised more than Facebook. [Continues.]


Loughborough University, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Transport Studies Group.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Andrew Rowe

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en