From Compliments to Complaints: Analyzing Civic Emails Directed at a Grassroots Campaign

Anne-Marie Oostveen

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

July 10, 2009

Much has been said about the use of email and other ICTs by online activists to communicate their message to the general public, to recruit and mobilize fellow advocates, and to reach the mass media. However, largely absent from the literature are studies exploring the use of email by the public to communicate and interact with campaigners. This paper investigates why citizens email campaigners and whether email exchanges between the public and activists inform campaigning tactics. Data used in this article include the results of content analysis of the archive of an email list, participant observation and informal interviews with the grassroots activists of a Dutch single-issue campaign against black box electronic voting. The research shows that the possibility for citizens to communicate with a grassroots campaign has been beneficial for both the civic writer and the activists.

Keywords: civic writing, weak supporters, grassroots activism, email content analysis, campaign strategy

working papers series

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Date posted: July 14, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Oostveen, Anne-Marie, From Compliments to Complaints: Analyzing Civic Emails Directed at a Grassroots Campaign (July 10, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1432504

Contact Information

Anne-Marie Oostveen (Contact Author)
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )
1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
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