How Diverse Users and Activities Trigger Connective Action via Social Media: Lessons from the Twitter Hashtag Campaign #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Date
2018-01-03
Authors
Johri, Aditya
Karbasian, Habib
Malik, Aqdas
Handa, Rajat
Purohit, Hemant
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Abstract
We present a study that examines how a social media activism campaign aimed at improving gender diversity within engineering gained and maintained momentum in its early period. We examined over 50,000 Tweets posted over the first ~75 days of the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign and found that diverse participation - of types of users - increased activity at crucial moments. We categorize these triggers into four types: 1) Event-Driven: Alignment of the campaign with offline events related to the issue (Diversity SFO, Disrupt, etc.); 2) Media-Driven: News coverage of the events in the media (TechCrunch, CNN, BBC, etc.); 3) Industry-Driven: Web participation in the campaign by large organizations (Microsoft, Tesla, GE, Cisco, etc.); and 4) Personality-Driven: Alignment of the events with popular and/or known personalities (e.g. Isis Anchalee; Michelle Sun; Ada Lovelace.) This study illustrates how one mechanism - triggering - supports connective action in social media campaign.
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Keywords
Social Movements and Social Technologies, Social media, hashtag activism, gender diversity, social movement, connective action
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