From Compliments to Complaints: Analyzing Civic Emails Directed at a Grassroots Campaign
Posted: 14 Jul 2009
Date Written: 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
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