Fostering Social Movements with Social Media

30 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2015 Last revised: 8 Aug 2021

Date Written: December 24, 2015


Social movements are activities in which groups of individuals or organizations try to implement or reverse social or political change or reform. The creation of a community of people who share a movement’s objectives is central to its success. It requires a means of communication through which the movement’s proponents can discuss and refine their objectives, share stories of personal grievances, build organizations, and design and implement strategy and tactics. Media are traditionally among the most important means of communication for building such communities. Social media are a relatively new form media whose power to foster social movements first became obvious during the Arab Spring of 2011. The purpose of this research is to address how social media can best be used to advance the goals of social movement proponents. Eight recent social movements that have used social media to various degrees are analyzed resulting in a model that attempts to answer this question.

Keywords: Social movement, social media, grounded research, Jasmine Revolution, Egyptian Revolution, Occupy movement, KONY 2012, same-sex marriage, Black Lives Matter, Umbrella Revolution

JEL Classification: D7, D74, L82

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Steven, Fostering Social Movements with Social Media (December 24, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Steven Gordon (Contact Author)

Babson College ( email )

231 Forest St.
Babson Park, MA 02457-0310
United States
7812394571 (Phone)

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