The research highlights the potential for social media to be used to put pressure on policymakers and to challenge misrepresentations (or lack of discussion) in the mainstream media. Through social media, activists can disseminate information, press releases and alternative narratives to generate public protest. These online campaigns can gain the attention of international media outlets and eventually trigger domestic media coverage.
- At the individual level, social media raises activists’ digital consciousness by improving their access to information and alternative narratives. This helps shape their identities and practices.
- At the collective level, digital technologies have fostered a virtual community of accountability and transparency for activists. Through digital archives, activists were able to hold themselves and others to account. Social media platforms also enable activists to cultivate networks of solidarity and support, fostering local and global communities of practice. Research participants’ experiences illustrate the strength of these collective identities – begun through ‘offline’ networks and organisations, then expanded and solidified through digital technologies.
- At the societal level, online campaigns can mobilise public protest.