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#Occupy

Twitter: A Content Analysis of Toronto Activists Use of Twitter During the Occupy Movement by Robert Bruce Woodrich Bachelor of Arts Honours Communication Studies, University of Windsor, 2011 Major Research Paper Submitted to the Department of Communication Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Master of Arts Wilfrid Laurier University 2013

Abstract
This paper explores the relationship between social media and social change.

It does so specifically by examining tweets containing the hashtags #occTO, #occupyto, and #occupytoronto, all of which were used to carry on a conversation about the 2011 Occupy Toronto movement. Grounded in alternative media and social movement theory, a content analysis is conducted on a sample of 7,858 tweets. A series of research questions are posed within this study, primarily the question of whether the Twitter conversation regarding Occupy Toronto placed greater emphasis on the movements issues, or on police and violence. Other works have identified that mainstream media place an emphasis on the latter, and a recent study regarding the 2010 Toronto G20 protests found that activists appear to be mirroring this practice. The findings of this study suggest that Occupy Toronto activists use of Twitter did not emphasize police and violence, although there was at least one day on which tweets heavily emphasized police and violence over issues by a ratio of seven to one. As such, there appears to be a correlation between an increased police presence at a protest site, and whether activists are reporting on police and violence online. Keywords: Activism, alternative media, content analysis, Occupy Toronto, social media, social movements, Twitter

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Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my father, Bruce Woodrich, for providing the encouragement, love, and support I needed to make it this far. Dad, I could not have done it without you. Thank you for leading the way, and for showing me what I can achieve through hard work and perseverance. My heartfelt thanks are also extended to Kimberley Orr for her unconditional support, and for the many months spent listening to me talk about my research. Amanda Orr, your sage advice and editing services were appreciated as always. Thomas Sasso, you are the best bro that anyone could ask for, and I am especially thankful for your methodological expertise. I am grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Martin Morris, my reader, Dr. Jeremy Hunsinger, and Dr. Abby Goodrum for helping me to obtain the data analyzed in this study. Finally, thanks to Mesli. You may have been born halfway through this study, but that did not keep you from trying to edit it.

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Table of Contents
Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 1 Chapter 1: Literature on Social Movements and Reporting ................................................... 5 From Social Movements to Social Networks .......................................................................................... 5 What Happened Before New Media? ........................................................................................................ 8 Why Social Movements Need New Media ............................................................................................. 11 To Tweet or Not to Tweet? ........................................................................................................................ 21 Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework .............................................................................................. 30 The Building Blocks for a Modern Social Movement ........................................................................ 30 Alternative Media ......................................................................................................................................... 30 Social Movements ......................................................................................................................................... 38 Chapter 3: Methodological Framework ...................................................................................... 50 Contentment with Content Analysis ....................................................................................................... 50 What Is Content Analysis? ......................................................................................................................... 50 Why Content Analysis? ............................................................................................................................... 52 What Content Was Analyzed? ................................................................................................................... 54 Coding Manual ............................................................................................................................................... 56 Why Werent Retweets Included? ........................................................................................................... 57 Chapter 4: Analysis and Argument ............................................................................................... 59 Vox Twitter, Vox Populi: The Voice of Twitter Is the Voice of the People ................................. 59 Answering Krippendorffs Six Questions .............................................................................................. 59 Interpreting the Data .................................................................................................................................. 63 Table 1 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 64 Table 2 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 65 Table 3 ............................................................................................................................................................................... 66 Argument ......................................................................................................................................................... 68 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................ 72 References ............................................................................................................................................ 75

Introduction

In the early 21st century, social media platforms such as Facebook and

Twitter represent the preferred media of choice for social movement activists. Social media have been able to completely transform how protesters communicate, from Cairos Tahrir Square to New York Citys Wall Street. Until recently, activists had been utilizing alternative media such as zines and later, the website Indymedia, but since at least 2009 (Gaffney 2010), they appear to have made the leap to social media along with the rest of the wired world. However, alongside activists decision to use social media has arisen a

dilemma. While it was first noted in 1970 that mainstream protest reporting was portraying protests as being about spectacle and violence rather than about a cause (Halloran, Elliott, & Murdock 1970), social movement activists now seem to have reflected this trend themselves. As identified by Thomas Poell and Erik Borra (2011), a reversal appears to have taken place. If this is indeed something that activists are now doing, it will call into serious question their own ability to criticize the mainstream media for reporting on their protests as often-violent spectacle rather than as being connected to a larger cause. Though this study draws inspiration from that of Poell & Borra (2011), no two social movements are exactly alike and more than one study of this nature will be necessary before it can be conclusively demonstrated that social movement activists are actually reflecting these aspects of mainstream protest reporting. Given that Poell & Borras (2011) case study focused on a Toronto, Canada-based

movement, it seemed appropriate that the focus of this case study also be on a Toronto-based movement. At the time of writing, Occupy Toronto was the latest social movement to have emerged from Toronto since the 2010 Toronto G20 protests. Additionally, Occupy Torontos main occupation site was home to relatively little police presence or violence when contrasted with the 2010 G20 Toronto summit protests that were the focus of Poell & Borras (2011) case study. The results of this study will thus begin to shed light on whether activists always focus on police activity and violence rather than their own issues, or if they simply do so when there is a relatively large police presence to report on. It is for these reasons that Occupy Toronto was selected for analysis. This study has been organized into four chapters, including a literature review, overview of the theoretical and methodological framework, and finally, an

analysis of the data. The analysis section contains the case study of Occupy Toronto tweets. Five specific research questions are answered, with two coming in the theoretical foundation chapter and a further three being answered in the analysis. The conclusion provides a discussion of this studys limitations, as well as suggested avenues for further research. The literature review will outline what happened in the period before social movement activists adopted new media, move to works discussing why social movements need new media, and finally, provide an overview of literature that examine how social movement activists came to use Twitter as an alternative medium. The theory and methods section covers alternative media and social

movement theory, as well as an overview of the content analysis method that is used in the studys analysis. The analysis section outlines the results of a content analysis of 7,858 Occupy Toronto tweets. First, it is important to determine whether Occupy Toronto movement

activists used Twitter as alternative media. Using Chris Attons (2002) typology of alternative media, it will be shown how this use of Twitter does qualify as an example of alternative media. Second, it is equally important to demonstrate that Occupy Toronto qualifies as a social movement. After all, if it were not a social movement, Occupy Toronto would have made a poor choice for a case study examining social movement activists use of alternative media. Relying upon the theory of Charles Tilly (2004) and Sidney G. Tarrow (2011), it will be shown how Occupy Toronto does fit the definition of a social movement. Third, a study was conducted on the entire tweet dataset containing the three most popular Occupy Toronto hashtags. The differences in the data and the aim of this study compared to the Poell & Borra (2011) study account for the difference in outcomes. Fourth, an answer to the question of whether there were any days on which Occupy Toronto activists did talk more about police and violence was found. Fifth, the question of the significance of these results is answered. This study is significant in that further academic understanding of social

movement activists use of alternative media was and is needed. The validity of activists use of social media as alternative media is called into question if all activists do is focus on event-based police violence in the way that mainstream

media have been documented as doing. Because Poell & Borra (2011) found that 2010 G20 protesters account mirrored often-criticized mainstream protest reporting practices (Poell & Borra 2011: 1), it is important to determine whether their results were unique, or whether social movement activists are consistently mirroring mainstream media coverage of spectacle and violence in their own alternative media account. Because this study finds that Occupy Toronto activists did not consistently frame coverage of their own movement through a lens of violence, it provides valuable research that supplements Poell & Borras (2011)

study, and suggests that there is no simple answer to the question of whether social movement activists are indeed mirroring the practices of mainstream protest reporting in their own alternative account. Although additional research on other social movements is needed, this

study raises an important question. If social movement activists are not discussing their issues when the spotlight is on them, but rather frame their movement through a lens of police and violence, how can mainstream protest reports be expected to frame their movement any differently? If activists only focus on police and violence on certain days, does this make a difference and particularly if activists do so on days when they are exposed to heightened mainstream media attention?

Chapter 1: Literature on Social Movements and Reporting


From Social Movements to Social Networks In this literature review, 11 seminal works are reviewed categorized into 3 identified themes. These themes can be colloquially classified as What happened before new media, Why social movements need new media, and To tweet or not to tweet. The literary works span scholarly examination of activism and protests from popular opposition to the Vietnam War to the 2010 G20 summit protest in Toronto, Canada. These works represent the literature most pertinent to this study, and place this study within a broader historical context. These begin with the first case study of demonstration reporting up to why Twitter is currently the best platform for social movement activists to report independently of mainstream media. To understand how social movements first came to recognize that an alternative to mainstream protest reporting was necessary, and how this led to their current use of Twitter, a review of these works is necessary. Two works emerge time and time again with regard to providing a historical context to social movement and media research. These are James Halloran, Philip Elliott and Graham Murdocks Demonstration and Communication: A Case Study (1970), and Todd Gitlins The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left (1980). Several more appear with regard to providing a basis for the claim that social movements need new media, mainly Manuel Castells Communication Power (2009) and The Power of Identity (2010), Simon Cottle's Reporting Demonstrations: The Changing Media Politics of Dissent (2008), Sara

Platon and Mark Deuze's Indymedia Journalism: A Radical Way of Making, Selecting

and Sharing the News? (2003), and Wim van de Donk, Brian D. Loader, Paul G. Nixon, and Dieter Rucht's Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens and Social Movements (2004). Lastly, I have identified a group of works that support the claim that Twitter is superior to other forms of social media when used by activists as an alternative to mainstream reporting. These are danah boyd, Scott Golder, and Gilad Lotan's Tweet, Tweet, Retweet: Conversational Aspects of Retweeting on Twitter (2010), Meeyoung Cha, Hamed Haddadi, Fabrcio Benevenuto, and Krishna P. Gummadi's Measuring User Influence in Twitter: The Million Follower Fallacy (2010), David Gaffney's #iranElection: Quantifying Online Activism (2010), and Thomas Poell and Erik Borra's Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr as Platforms of Alternative Journalism: The Social Media Account of the 2010 Toronto G20 Protests (2011). Although I have attempted to neatly classify these works into distinct categories, it should be noted that there is a certain degree of overlap between the categories. The earliest works deal with mainstream media coverage of the anti-Vietnam War social movement. Demonstrations and Communication: A Case Study (1970) is mentioned in three of the works contained in this literature review: those of Cottle (2008); Poell & Borra (2011); and van de Donk, Loader, Nixon, & Rucht (2004). It is also notable as the first such case study of protest reporting. This serves as a precursor to the idea that social movement activists need to rely on their own media, as opposed to mainstream media coverage. The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left is mentioned in five of the works examined herein: those of Castells (2009; 2010), Cottle (2008), Poell & Borra (2011),

and van de Donk et al. (2004). These works represent not only important case studies of historical social movement activity, but have been immensely influential throughout the humanities and social sciences. More recently, scholars have noted that social movements need to produce

their own media coverage if they are to be portrayed favourably. Whether by way of alternative multimedia platforms such as Indymedia (Castells 1997, 2009; Cottle 2008; Platon & Deuze 2003), or by utilizing new media more broadly (van de Donk et al. 2004), it has been recognized that the conditions noted by Gitlin (1980) and Halloran et al. (1970) will not change if activists are to rely on mainstream media to provide coverage of demonstrations. Specifically, mainstream media portray protests as events unconnected to a broader cause by focusing primarily on violence. In the present decade, a body of work has begun to emerge indicating that Twitter is the ideal site for activists to report on their own demonstrations. This literature describes how influential Twitter users can be (Cha, Haddadi, Benevenuto, & Gummadi 2010), how Twitter can facilitate a broader conversation about a subject (boyd, Golder, & Lotan 2010), and how Twitter allows activists to take their protests online (Gaffney 2010; Poell & Borra 2011). They point to Twitter being preferable to platforms such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube when it comes to facilitating activist reporting. Analysis of Twitter use during events ranging from the 2009 Iranian national election to the 2010 Toronto G20 protests to the Arab Spring feature most prominently in works pertaining to this subject (Gaffney 2010;

Khondker 2011; Lotan, Graeff, Ananny, Gaffney, Pearce, & boyd 2011; Poell & Borra 2011). Aside from the works selected for review, there are others that appear frequently and are worth mentioning. Chief among these are John D. H. Downings Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements (2001), and Robert A. Hacketts News and Dissent: The Press and the Politics of Peace in Canada (1991). Downing is cited in several of the works covered here (Castells 2009; Poell & Borra 2011; van de Donk et al. 2004), but Radical Media (2001) is not as directly relatable to this study as are the works selected. His book provides a very broad overview of an abundance of alternative media (i.e., dance, graffiti, street theatre, etc.) that is more useful as a theoretical underpinning rather than a directly applicable guide for this case study. Hacketts News and Dissent (1991), while not cited in any of the selected works, is also regularly cited in relation to mass media coverage of demonstrations. What Happened Before New Media? To provide historical context for this study, it is important to acknowledge

and examine the emergence of social movement media coverage as an object of research. James Halloran, Philip Elliott and Graham Murdocks Demonstration and Communication: A Case Study (1970) stands as the first classic case study of mainstream media coverage of a social movement. This work directs its focus toward an anti-Vietnam War demonstration that took place in London, England on 27 October 1968. The work is structured with a detailed description of the march

placed first, followed by an analysis of the newsgathering process, and finally a survey of readers and viewers reactions. An ambitious study, it serves as the longest work centred on a single demonstration observed in this literature review. Halloran et al. (1970) found that media coverage of the protest decontextualized the event from being a statement about American foreign policy toward Vietnam, and instead portrayed the protest as an event unconnected to a broader cause. According to the study, the only newspaper to characterize the demonstration as being about the United States policy in Vietnam was a socialist newspaper called the Morning Star (Halloran et. al. 1970: 141). Aside from demonstrating that the march was framed as a single event and not part of a larger issue, Halloran et al. also establish that media outlets covered the peaceful protest through an angle of violence (Halloran et al. 1970; Cottle 2008). They note that coverage of a breakaway incident where a small group of protesters marched to Grosvenor Square and attempted to break through police cordons was crystalized into a story of unqualified, intentional violence, while the story of the main march,

which had run counter to expectations, was reported as a peaceful occasion but with an undercurrent of expectations which expected hidden violence (Halloran et al. 1970: 215). Given what is found later in works by Gitlin (1980), Poell & Borra (2011), and Veneti, Poulakidakos, & Kostas (2012), it is notable that Halloran et al. (1970) are the first to identify the mainstream media practice of framing demonstration coverage through a lens of violence.

Todd Gitlins The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and

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Unmaking of the New Left (1980) is a relatively more recent study that examines the relationship between mass media and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an American student movement. The work is divided in to three parts, with the first tackling Gitlins days with the SDS, the second highlighting the importance of media in making or breaking a movement, and the third dealing more broadly with theories of the news, hegemony as a process and selected social movements of the Seventies. Gitlin (1980) notes that media covering SDS demonstrations used several framing devices. These framing devices are first listed as: trivialization, polarization, emphasis on internal dissention, marginalization, disparagement by numbers, and disparagement of the movements effectiveness. He says that as the movement turned to increasingly militant tactics, new framing devices were added by mainstream reports to the group listed above: reliance on statements by government officials and other authorities, emphasis on the presence of Communists, emphasis on the carrying of Viet Cong flags, emphasis on violence in demonstrations, delegitimizing use of quotation marks around terms like peace march, and considerable attention to right-wing opposition to the movement (Gitlin 1980: 27). These framing devices are important to note in this paper, given that more than thirty years after The Whole World Is Watching was published there is still, among other things, an emphasis on violence in demonstrations. Gitlin (1980) also argues that, based upon his case studies, a demonstration is treated as a potential or actual disruption of legitimate order, not as a statement about the world.

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Consequently, this treatment diverts media attention away from critical treatment of the institutional, systemic, and everyday workings of property and the State (Gitlin 1980: 271). Alongside Demonstration and Communication (1970), The Whole World Is Watching (1980) is certainly one of the most historically significant publications with regard to the subject matter of this paper. Indeed, two of the works to be reviewed cite Demonstration and Communication (1970) and The Whole World Is Watching (1980) as classic studies with regard to mass media coverage of protests (Cottle 2008: 855; Poell & Borra 2011: 3). Why Social Movements Need New Media Originally published in 1997, Manuel Castells The Power of Identity is a far-

reaching study that ranges from Castells conceptualization of the network society to social movements and social change. Cited frequently in academic literature, Castells (2010) provides an analytical framework within which to understand the construction of identity (Castells 2010). Updated in 2010, this work covers many different types of social movement, stretching from the anti-globalization movement to Mexicos Zapatistas. Castells provides his own definition of social movements and discusses how

political communication only exists within the space of the media (Castells 2010). For Castells (2010), there are three critical points essential to understanding social movements. First, social movements should be understood as being what they say they are (Castells 2010: 73). Second, social movements may be socially conservative, socially revolutionary, or both, or none (Castells 2010: 73). Third, he

characterizes social movements in terms first coined by Alain Touraine. Touraine defines social movements by three principles: the movements identity, the movements adversary, and the movements vision or social model, which I call societal goal (cited in Castells 2010: 74). However, it is Castells (2010) dialogue about new media that is most pertinent to this study. He makes it clear that due to the dramatically increased pervasiveness of the new media, political communication and information are essentially captured in the space of the media. He goes on to say, outside of the

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media sphere there is only political marginality (Castells 2010: 370). As such, his work provides backing to the idea that social movements need to use new media. Indymedia Journalism: A Radical Way of Making, Selecting and Sharing Views? by Sara Platon and Mark Deuze (2003) informs this study by providing an analysis of a dominant pre-social media platform for alternative journalism, Indymedia. During its era of dominance, Indymedia, a decentralized, democratic network of alternative media outlets allowed activists to crowdsource reports and share them primarily online (Platon & Deuze 2003). Indymedia arose in the aftermath of the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization, building upon the development of an Independent Media Centre (IMC) developed in November 1999 to cover the Seattle protests. It consisted of 150 centres in dozens of countries at its height, and more or less ceased North American operations in 2006 (Uzelman 2011: 283). Their article seeks to answer the question of whether mainstream media can

incorporate the principles and ideas of Indymedias alternative media model, and they state that the answer to this question is: no (Platon & Deuze 2003).

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Platon & Deuze (2003) wrote this article at a time when social media had yet to rise to prominence, and so do not touch on this subject. However, they make it clear that alternative media are important to activists with regard to allowing them to not fear the media, [but to] be the media (Platon & Deuze 2003: 350). In retrospect, their analysis of Indymedia presents the alternative outlet as a stepping- stone toward the ever-greater decentralization and democratization brought about by social media platforms such as Twitter. Their work is important to this study as it provides further confirmation of the fact that alternatives to mainstream media are necessary as far as protest reporting is concerned. Furthermore, their study highlights the fact that a central aim of Indymedia was to emphasize issues and include voices not featured in mainstream reporting (Poell & Borra 2011: 5). Social media provide a more efficient method of achieving this aim, due to alternative media featuring an inherent lack of editorial gatekeeping. However, Platon & Deuze (2003) help to explain activists use of new media in the years immediately preceding the emergence of Twitter. Published in 2004, Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens and Social Movements edited by Wim van de Donk, Brian D. Loader, Paul G. Nixon, and Dieter Rucht is a compilation of essays about the ways in which social movements are changing their media practices to adapt along with an altering media landscape. The chapters most

relevant to this study are the ones authored by (in order of appearance) Dieter

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Rucht, Steve Wright, W. Lance Bennett, and Peter van Aelst and Stefaan Walgrave. Dieter Rucht (2004) examines social movements from the Sixties up to 2004, and makes plain that a movement that does not make it into the media is non- existent (Rucht 2004: 25). Though he goes on to explain that a movement will be known to participants and by-standers, a movement that does not gain media coverage is not known to wider society. Rucht states that, in turn, the media deal with social movements in various ways. They can ignore them, deal with them proactively and eagerly, or they can downplay the big social, economic, or political picture in favour of the human trials and triumphs that sit at the surface of events (Rucht 2004: 25). This final point echoes what authors such as Halloran et al. (1970) and Gitlin (1980) say about how mainstream media coverage of social movements decontextualize protests from being a part of a larger cause to being unique, often- violent spectacles. His observations support the idea that social movements need new media. When it is not possible for social movements to gain favourable coverage in mainstream media, it makes sense for them to report on their own activities or use an alternative platform such as Indymedia. As highlighted in Poell & Borra (2011), Rucht indicates that although movements such as Greenpeace are often successful at gaining media coverage, they struggle with securing legitimacy (cited in Poell & Borra 2011: 4). This has a lot to do with how protest groups gain media attention, which is, inter alia, through conflict, spectacle, and newness (cited in Poell & Borra

2011: 4). Rucht (2004) informs this paper by reinforcing the notion that

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mainstream media have various frames through which they cover social movements, such as through a frame of conflict or violence. Although Rucht says that social movements should not ignore established mass media as a sounding board or potential ally, he concludes by stating that social movements cannot rely on these outlets (Rucht 2004). Steve Wright (2004) investigates how then-current social movements were utilizing information and communication technologies (ICTs). His work is of particular relevance to a study involving an anti-capitalist movement, and he uncovers a series of questions that may lead to further inquiry (Wright 2004: 80). Wright (2004) supplies some insight into the usefulness of Indymedia to activists, especially in its early years. As dealt with in Platon & Deuze (2003), he provides background information on the origins of Indymedia as part of the Seattle WTO protests, and about how this alternative media platform facilitated a crowdsourcing of material rather than a top-down editorial approach (Wright 2004: 73). Not only does Wright (2004) demonstrate that a work can be about uncovering further questions rather than discovering answers, but he lends further support to the notion that social movements need new media. It should be noted, however, that he makes the distinction that movements have been most successful by combining use of ICTs old and new the Internet, mobile phones and movement aligned radio stations (Wright 2004: 81). It is useful for this paper to acknowledge Wrights (2004) points, and not to be overly deterministic about the role of Twitter in the Occupy Toronto movement.

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chapter explains, the role of the internet in shaping the anti-globalization movement. Specifically, they look to map the contribution of anti-globalization websites to the formation of collective identity, actual mobilization, and a network of organizations (Van Aelst & Walgrave 2004: 87). Key to the argument that this paper is trying to make, Van Aelst and Walgrave state that new media offer new opportunities for international collective action (Van Aelst & Walgrave 2004: 87). They also offer a specific definition of what they mean by social movement, which differs somewhat from others offered in publications of a similar nature. For Van Aelst and Walgrave, a social movement must feature four elements: (1) a network of organizations, (2) on the basis of a shared collective identity, (3) mobilizing people to join, mostly unconventional actions, (4) to obtain social or political goals (Van Aelst & Walgrave 2004: 88). They analyze 17 anti-globalization websites from March-May 2001, and determine that in this instance, the websites appeared to constitute their own social movement, according to the given definition. However, they conclude by making the clear distinction that although new media are facilitating the global protests and social movements that counter globalization, these movements may have occurred without the existence of the web or email (Van Aelst & Walgrave 2004: 105). What is clear is that new media are at the very least supplementing traditional forms of protest. W. Lance Bennett (2004) discusses the role of the internet and other forms of digital media in what he refers to as a new global activism. Similar to other

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authors reviewed here, he refers to the Seattle WTO protests as a touchstone for the then-new anti-globalization movement, but he is more optimistic than Wright (2004) when making his estimation that the current organizational weaknesses of Internet mobilization may become a core resource for the growth of new global publics (Bennett 2004: 128). His main argument is that social justice activism, in the era following the Seattle protests, is different in its global scale, networked complexity, openness to diverse political identities, and capacity to sacrifice ideological integration for pragmatic political gain (Bennett 2004: 109). Although Bennett focuses on the importance of Indymedia, he makes explicit reference to the fact that personal digital media are important to these activists (Bennett 2004: 109). He goes on to explore whether digital communication networks are advantaging what he terms resource-poor players, such as social movements, and also draws upon the theory of Manuel Castells to explore the social contexts of internet-based activism (Bennett 2004). Bennetts work is important to this research in a number of ways, but to start, it should be noted that he identified the fact that modern-day activist campaigns are more protracted and less centrally controlled, due to the then-emerging patterns of global activist communication (Bennett 2004: 115). Although Bennett (2004) made this point seven years before the emergence of the Occupy movement, he cleverly draws attention to the trend of new media enabling longer-term social movements. Additionally, he notes how contemporary, loosely linked networks are ideologically thin (Bennett 2004: 118). He gives the example of the permanent anti-Microsoft campaign, where conservative United States Senator Orrin Hatch and consumer

activist Ralph Nader find themselves part of the same movement. Essentially, the loose connections facilitated by new media enable a broad base of support for a variety of issues in such a way that was not previously possible. Bennett concludes by explaining that although these new communication-

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based politics are durable, they are prone to problems of control, decision-making and collective identity (Bennett 2004: 127). He also goes on to say that researchers should not analyze the new communication-based politics from the perspective of particular organizations or issues, but rather should look at the entire network (Bennett 2004: 128). However, this may have been easier to do before the emergence of Facebook and Twitter, where the amount of electronic data produced by entire movements is not only vast, but also costly to analyze. Although this paper does not heed Bennetts last piece of advice, it is nevertheless helpful to note that at least one scholar has recommended against examining a particular organization as opposed to what he calls an electronic public sphere (Bennett 2004: 128). Referring to Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens and Social Movements (2004), Simon Cottles (2008) work reaches relatively similar conclusions as authors such as Bennett (2004), Rucht (2004), and Van Aelst & Walgrave (2004). His main argument is that protests and demonstrations today have become reflexively conditioned by their pursuit of media attention, and need to be if they are to get their message across and mobilize wider support (Cottle 2008: 853). He goes on to say that wider audiences are now primarily exposed to the politics of protest through news media, and through exposure to these wider audiences, legitimacy can be potentially won

or lost (Cottle 2008: 854). That social movements rely on media coverage for

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broader exposure and the garnering of popular support is not new. What is new is that politics has become increasingly mediated, and the way in which news media frame protests has come to be integral to the politics of protest (Cottle 2008: 854). According to Cottle, media politics regarding demonstrations and protests has become less clear or predictable than in the recent past (Cottle 2008: 854). This is presumably due to the fact that demonstrations have become mainstream, and are no longer confined to left-wing concerns and agendas (Cottle 2008: 854). Cottle (2008) makes an important contribution to this paper in that he outlines how mainstream media coverage of protest and demonstrations is changing. Although this research doesnt necessary aim to examine media coverage of protesters, it is nevertheless useful to acknowledge that the struggle for public recognition and representation through the staging of demonstrations and protests is inextricably bound up with the struggle to circulate messages and meanings, and therefore to shape and condition news media reporting (Cottle 2008: 867). Because social media are increasingly rising in prominence not only among activists but reporters as well, it only makes sense that Twitter and YouTube are activists preferred platforms of communication (Poell & Borra 2011). The second work of Manuel Castells to be examined here, his 2009 work Communication Power provides a thorough look at the role of power in the network society. Communication Power (2009) can be considered a successor to Castells earlier The Power of Identity (2010), and the second in a trilogy dealing very broadly

with the information age. A very dense theoretical work, it is important first to explain what this book means by both power and network society, as Castells (2009) offers specific definitions of both.

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By power, Castells is referring to the relational capacity that enables a social actor to influence asymmetrically the decisions of other social actor(s) in ways that favor the empowered actors will, interests and values (Castells 2009: 10). He goes on to explain that power is exercised by either real or the possibility of coercion, and/or by the construction of meaning on the basis of the discourses through which social actors guide their action (Castells 2009: 10). Basically, Castells (2009) is saying that power can be exercised both by one social actor over another, as well as at a discursive level. An example of this is the construction of a neoliberal hegemonic discourse within which it is not possible to communicate politically without adopting the language of neoliberalism (Phillips 1998). By network society, Castells is referring to a society whose social structure is made around networks activated by microelectronics-based, digitally processed information and communication technologies (Castells 2009: 24). He goes on to say that the network society is a global society, and that everybody is affected by the processes that take place in the global networks that constitute the social structure, (Castells 2009: 25) regardless of the fact that the majority of people on this planet are still not included in these networks. Castells (2009) work was not selected to inform this study theoretically, as will be outlined later on, but it does support the general theme of this section, which

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is to say that social movements need to be using new media. According to Castells, the key strategic question of our age is how to reach the global from the local, through networking with other localities how to grassroot the space of flows (Castells 2009: 52). In this sense, new media very much fulfill this strategic aim of social movements, in that they enable activists to network globally while focusing on local issues. To take this one step further, the Occupy movement can be considered the embodiment of this theory, due to it being a global social movement enabled by social media that is comprised of hundreds of locally based nodes. To Tweet or Not to Tweet? The third component to this literature review will examine the topic of

Twitter. While earlier sections have looked at how social movements communicated before the advent of social media and the transition to their use of social media respectively, this section focuses on their use of Twitter as opposed to other popular platforms such as Facebook or YouTube. danah boyd, Scott Golder, and Gilad Lotan (2010) discuss various aspects of Twitter, but focus primarily on the retweet capability. Rather than seek to prove or disprove any hypothesis, they explore how the retweet function enables users to be in a conversation (boyd et al. 2010: 1). The authors use relatively large random samples of tweets (between 203,000 and 720,000 per case study) to, in their own words, assess retweeting as a practice (boyd et al., 2010: 3). They determine that, by rebroadcasting messages, those who retweet become part of a broader conversation (boyd et al. 2010: 10).

However, most pertinent to this study, boyd et al. map out how Twitter in

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general enables participants to converse with individuals, groups, and the public at large, so when conversations emerge, they are often experienced by broader audiences than just the interlocutors (boyd et al. 2010: 1). This is to say that the authors discuss Twitter beyond its retweet capability. They provide some key information regarding the history of Twitter, such as the fact it was founded in early 2006 to enable people to share short textual messages tweets with others in the system (boyd et al. 2010: 2). The system limits tweets to a length of 140 characters due to the simple fact that Twitter was designed for tweets to be shared via SMS (boyd et al. 2010: 2). According to the authors, Twitter combines elements of social network sites and blogs, but with a few notable differences Connections are directed rather than undirected, [and] participants can link to others and see their tweets, but the other user need not reciprocate (boyd et al. 2010: 2). They also list other important aspects unique to Twitter as a social media platform, such as the fact that there is no ability to comment on individual posts, and the first thing users see upon logging in is a stream of tweets posted by those that they follow, listed in reverse chronological order (boyd et al. 2010: 2). Overall, the boyd et al. (2010) article is useful in the sense that it provides a thorough description of the Twitter service, and that it describes how conversations take place within that service. Meeyoung Cha, Hamed Haddadi, Fabrcio Benevenuto, and Krishna P. Gummadi (2010) analyze user influence in Twitter, as the title of their article suggests. Specifically, Cha et al. analyze influence patterns by using a large amount

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of data gathered from Twitter, [and] compare three different measures of influence: indegree, retweets, and mentions (Cha et al. 2010: 1). Indegree is the number of followers a particular user has, retweets mean the number of times a user forwards another users tweet, and mentions means the number of times a user mentions another users name (Cha et al. 2010: 1). Cha et al. argue that studying influence patterns can help us better understand why certain trends or innovations are adopted faster than others (Cha et al. 2010: 1). They outline traditional communication theory with regard to the study of influence (namely, that a minority of users, called influentials, excel in persuading others) (Rogers 1962), and analyze user influence using a large amount of data gathered from Twitter (Cha et al. 2010: 1). The dataset consists of 6,189,636 users and 1,755,925,520 tweets, and Spearmans rank correlation coefficient is used to compare the three measures of user influence (Cha et al. 2010: 3). Finally, they determine three key things about the influence of Twitter users: 1) indegree represents a users popularity, but is not related to other important notions of influence such as retweets and mentions; 2) retweets are driven by the content value of a tweet; and 3) mentions are driven by the name value of a user (Cha et al. 2010: 8). Cha et al. (2010) have broken ground with regard to understanding what is required to systematically obtain influence on Twitter. Cha et al.s (2010) work contributes to this study primarily in that it demonstrates what can be done quantitatively with tweet data, and that it discusses the question of methodology in relation to such a study. As previously discussed, Cha et al.s study seeks to measure user influence, and so they make a value

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judgment that normalizing their dataset is not appropriate for their needs (Cha et al. 2010: 4). Because they want to demonstrate that users with the highest number of retweets were more influential, they decided not to normalize their data, which would have seen them condense their data by removing redundancies (in this case, retweets being the redundancies). As a result of Cha et al.s (2010) discussion of methodology, I was able to make an informed decision not to factor in retweets with regard to the content analysis. Retweets werent factored in, because the content analysis sought to determine popularity of particular themes rather than the influence of individual users. A discussion regarding the subject of why retweets werent counted in the content analysis is outlined in the methodology section of this paper. Another article important to the quantitative aspect of this study, Devin Gaffneys #iranElection: Quantifying Online Activism (2010) also takes an explorative approach to its primary question. Gaffney has asked, Can a finer granularity be achieved in directly measuring the impact on politics and society? (Gaffney 2009: 1) and then focused on the use of Twitter by activists following the 2009 Iran election. The author used a methodology similar to that used in this study, in that he collected tweets containing a particular hashtag (in his case, #iranElection), and stored the tweet and its associated metadata (time, user, number of friends and followers, stated location, etc.) (Gaffney 2009: 2). Data was collected using a custom- written piece of software, and in total, 766,263 tweets across 73,693 users were collected and stored (Gaffney 2009: 2).

Like Cha et al. (2010), Gaffney opted to analyze for influence, among other factors such as histogram-based analysis and language-based analysis (i.e., tag

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clouds) (Gaffney 2009: 2). Of particular importance to this study, Gaffney concluded, previous approaches (to the study of online activism) tend to lean towards predominantly qualitative analysis, which is, while useful, not the only approach that should be used (Gaffney 2009: 7). He suggests that new methodologies should be embraced by those studying Web 2.0 technology, and tells us that it is possible to confirm influential actors (Gaffney 2009: 7). While the methods used by Gaffney are not directly applicable with regard to this own study, the fact that he has analyzed a large tweet dataset focusing on online activism serves to inform this study in two primary ways: 1) Gaffney encourages researchers to consider analyzing social media data quantitatively, and 2) he addresses the issue of ethics with regard to the harvesting of tweets (Gaffney 2009: 7). He informs researchers that there seems to be some controversy over whether or not it is ethical to collect tweets and associated user information, and, chillingly, [o]nce regimes used torture to get this kind data; now its freely available on Facebook (Gaffney 2009: 7). While this latter aspect of the debate surrounding the ethics of social media data harvesting is not applicable to this study, it is nevertheless important to consider the risks that such a study as Gaffneys (2009) may pose when dealing with users who live in countries such as Iran that may punish activists for challenging the status quo. The single most influential article regarding this study, Thomas Poell and Erik Borras Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr as Platforms of Alternative Journalism: The Social Media Account of the 2010 Toronto G20 Protests (2011) is also the most

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recently published article to be reviewed. The authors examine the appropriation of social media as platforms of alternative journalism by the protesters of the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, and do so in the light of the history and theory of alternative journalism (Poell & Borra 2011: 1). Poell & Borra (2011) have conducted this examination in two overarching parts. The first consists of an analysis of whether the use of Twitter and YouTube permit a large number of people to share their observations and points of view, and the second consists of whether the social media accounts focus the attention on the protesters issues, instead of on violence and spectacle (Poell & Borra 2011: 5). Addressing these two examinations in the order covered in Poell & Borras (2011) study, I shall start by unpacking what the authors have said about crowdsourcing. Poell & Borra identify that Twitter is the most democratic form of social media, when compared with Flickr and YouTube (Poell & Borra 2011). It is also more crowdsourced than older forms of alternative protest reporting, notably Indymedia (Poell & Borra 2011). This means that Twitter appears to have opened protest reporting to a relatively large number of users when compared to Indymedia. The authors note that, [d]uring the two days of the G20 summit on 26 and 27 June 2010, when the largest protests took place, more than 800 users posted over 3,000 tweets a day tagged #g20report (Poell & Borra 2011: 8). Users on YouTube and Twitter wielded relatively greater influence with regard to the percentage of posts made by individual users. This being said, they still make note of the fact that, including Twitter, the 20 percent most active users on all three platforms posted over 50 percent of all reports (Poell & Borra 2011: 9). To the

present day, no alternative journalistic medium has been able to significantly crowdsource reports, and Poell & Borra (2011) show that todays crop of social media fare little better than Indymedia.

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Secondly, the authors seek to address the issue of whether protesters focus on their issues rather than violence and spectacle. Analyzing 11,556 tweets, 222 videos, and 3,338 photos containing the hashtag #g20report, Poell & Borra coded their dataset and found that the the #g20report account was primarily about police activity (Poell & Borra 2011: 11). They differentiate between top outlinks (URLs contained in tweets) and retweets, and find similar, albeit not identical, results (Poell & Borra 2011: 11). Across each of the platforms studied, protesters focused overwhelmingly on police activities, and as a result of these findings, it is reasonable to expect similar findings in this study. The authors have identified that the reporting of protesters on social media mirror[ed] often-criticized mainstream protest reporting practices, (Poell & Borra 2011: 1) suggesting that protesters may have come full circle from the days of the protests examined by Halloran et al. (1970), and in this case, have focused on an event rather than the issues being brought to light by the protesters themselves. Indeed, as Poell & Borra conclude, the attention is drawn away from the original issues at stake in the protests as a result of police violence being emphasized by protesters in the social media account (Poell & Borra 2011: 15). This study is heavily indebted to that of Poell & Borra due to the fact that, following this conclusion, they question whether social media, such as Twitter and YouTube,

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should be the main platforms to facilitate [alternative] reporting as activists are increasingly turning to these media as their preferred platforms of communication (Poell & Borra 2011: 15). The next logical step is to verify whether protesters are indeed distracting from their own message by paying too much attention to police and violence, and useful to the purposes of this study, another large scale protest happened to take place one year later in the same location. Thanks to Poell & Borra (2011), we know that Twitter is best able to facilitate the crowdsourcing of reporting among the current generation of social media, and so it makes sense to draw from their study the idea to isolate Twitter as the sole research subject in a future study. This is because the protesters themselves are interested in crowdsourcing their reports, in an effort to reverse the perceived bias of mainstream media toward focusing on protests as a potential or actual disruption of legitimate order, not as a statement about the world (Gitlin 1980: 271). As Poell & Borra outline, media coverage is diverted away from critical treatment of the institutional, systemic, and everyday workings of property and the state (Poell & Borra 2011: 3), and this is due to mainstream journalisms philosophy of objectivity and impartiality, which leads to a strong focus on the event itself (Gitlin 1980: 271; Halloran et al. 1970: 302). To take this one step further, violence tends to become a central theme in demonstration reporting and protest issues downplayed or overlooked, due to its high visibility in relation to an event (Poell & Borra 2011: 4).

This literature review has examined works relevant to this study in three

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parts. By navigating through works that were integral to understanding why social movements need alternative media, to literature dealing with why social movements need to adopt new media, through to works examining specifically the use of Twitter by social movement activists, the upcoming case study of Occupy Toronto has been placed within a recent historical context dating back to the anti- Vietnam War movement of 1968. In Chapter 2, the theory necessary to provide an understanding of Occupy Toronto as a social movement, as well as activists use of Twitter as alternative media, will be examined.

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Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework


The Building Blocks for a Modern Social Movement In Chapter 1, it was demonstrated that social movement activists initially went from first recognizing a bias in mainstream news reporting circa 1968 (namely, following the anti-Vietnam War protests), to adopting new media circa 1999 (namely, during and following the Seattle WTO protests), to how they currently use Twitter as alternative media (namely, during the 2011 Occupy protests). It is important to provide an overview of both alternative media and social

movement theory, especially due to alternative media having arisen alongside social movements. Social movements have existed for far longer than have claims of bias in mainstream media, but since at least 1968 (Halloran et al. 1970; Gitlin 1980), social movement activists have recognized that the way in which they have been framed in mainstream news coverage has not been balanced (Poell & Borra 2011). As a result, activists started to turn toward alternative methods of media production such as zines (Atton 2002) and the website Indymedia (Platon & Deuze 2003; Carroll & Hackett 2006; Downing 2008; Castells 2009; Castells 2010; Poell & Borra 2011). Alternative Media According to alternative media scholars Richard Abel and Chris Atton, there

is no single definition of the term alternative media (Abel 1996; Atton 2002). However, Atton (2002) does go to great lengths to provide a theoretical and methodological framework for alternative media, as well as provide case studies of

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media that fit his broad definition (these are primarily zines, which themselves grew out of late-1970s fanzines). Although Attons Alternative Media was published in 2002, before the advent of social media, it is still a useful tool in that it provides a thorough analysis of the history and theory underpinning alternative media. An overview of Attons book tells us that alternative media have a complex

and rich history, dating back at least to the second half of the 1800s (Atton 2002). Because of the broadness of the term alternative media, one can consider 1800s amateur journalism, late 1920s science fiction magazines, and Adbusters magazine all examples of alternative media. This is because all fit Attons overarching typology, which is as follows: 1. Content (politically radical, socially/culturally radical); news values; 2. Form graphics, visual language; varieties of presentation and binding; aesthetics; 3. Reprographic innovations/adaptations use of mimeographs, IBM typesetting, offset litho, photocopiers; 4. Distributive use (Atton 1999) alternative sites for distribution, clandestine/invisible distribution networks, anti-copyright; 5. Transformed social relations, roles and responsibilities reader-writers, collective organization, de-professionalization of e.g., journalism, printing, publishing; 6. Transformed communication processes horizontal linkages, networks. (Atton 2002: 27) Atton (2002) was writing at a time when social media had yet to emerge, and

the alternative media landscape was dominated by the likes of Indymedia and zines (zines being printed on paper, rather than primarily disseminated electronically). However, his typology still provides a useful model for understanding activists use of Twitter as alternative media in that the content, visual language (when images appear), clandestine/invisible distribution networks (as many users chose to use

pseudonyms), transformed social relations (nearly all contributors to the

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conversation appear to have been amateurs rather than professional journalists, and they were certainly reader-writers as they frequently responded to other tweets), and horizontal linkages (the Occupy movement was infamous for its lack of leadership, and Occupy Toronto was no different) all point to it being an example of alternative media when used by activists. In spite of being ten years old at the time of this papers writing, Attons (2002) typology of alternative media is still the most popular, and it remains relevant with regard to providing a theoretical underpinning for beginning to understand the Occupy Toronto activists use of Twitter. Attons typology of alternative media is itself grounded theoretically in the

work of John Downing, who drew upon anarchist philosophy to help explain what is meant by alternative (Downing 1984; Atton 2002). Downing (1984) developed his theories during the Cold War, a time when communist countries were home to media every bit as hierarchical, limiting and bound by authority as are the mass media of capitalism (Atton 2002: 20). He argued in favour of a revolutionary socialist media, separate from either capitalist or communist mass media (Downing 1984). Downings (1984) own typology of alternative media (although he calls it radical media) does not emphasize the role of content, and he privileges organization and process over product (Atton 2002). His typology of alternative media is as follows:

33 1. The importance of encouraging contributions from as many interested parties as possible, in order to emphasize the multiple realities of social life (oppression, political cultures, economic situations); 2. That radical media, while they may be partisan, should never become a tool of party or intelligentsia; 3. That radical media at their most creative and socially significant privilege movements over institutions; 4. That within the organization of radical media there appears an emphasis on prefigurative politics. (Downing 1984: 17)

At first glance, Downings (1984) typology appears to share little with that of

Atton (2002). However, one cannot examine Downings (1984) theory without placing it within a broader historical context. As Atton himself notes, Downing was writing before the radical transformation of the Communist countries after 1989 and his arguments against the Party and the State are less urgent today (Atton 2002: 20). Prior to the end of the Cold War, it made far greater sense to focus on alternatives to party-controlled state media companies than it does today, although Downings (1984) typology may likely find contemporary utility in modern-day China and other single-party states. Indeed, the first and third points are as relevant today as they were in 1984. When used by Occupy Toronto activists, Twitter encouraged contributions from as many interested parties as possible (whether they were for or against the movement), and privileged the movement over institutions (news organizations and other official sources were far outnumbered by activists and other interested parties). Atton also notes that Downing (1984) failed to examine alternative media predating the 1960s and that he ignored zine culture, but Atton himself ignores Indymedia and mentions the term new media only once (although he does dedicate his final chapter to information and communication technologies and

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alternative media) (Atton 2002: 133). It stands to reason that it is a near impossible task for any work to address all aspects of alternative media, given that what makes a medium alternative wholly depends on the mainstream media and politics of the day. Just as the Russian samizdat was popular at the time of Downings (1984) work, and the zine was popular at the time of Attons (2002) work, Twitter is what is popular at the time of this work. In this particular case, Twitter can be considered an alternative medium when used by Occupy Toronto activists. Just as magazines are not inherently alternative, zines are due to their content, form, etc. Activist use of Twitter qualifies as alternative media for similar reasons. As listed above, activist use of Twitter qualifies due to its content, visual language, clandestine/invisible distribution networks, transformed social relations, and horizontal linkages. It will be useful to know exactly how Occupy Toronto activists use of Twitter qualified the medium as an example of alternative media using Attons (2002) typology of alternative and radical media, and so each point will be examined in greater detail. First, the content is radical in a number of ways. A greater number of specific examples will be given in the proceeding analysis, but comments such as Occupy Bay Street - Not Afghanistan! - Join the anti-war contingent - http://t.co/EUGcWlXl #occupytoronto (CanadianPeace 2011) and Sorry for the Inconvenience, We're Trying to Change the World #occTO #occupy (#occTO 2011a) provide two examples of tweets that present content seeking to challenge

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mainstream political thought (whether broadly as in the latter case, or challenging something as specific as Canadas foreign policy as in the former). The next way in which activist use of Twitter can be considered an example of alternative media is in how Occupy Toronto activists used it to disseminate images critical of Mayor Rob Ford, the police, public policy, etc. An example of this, @OccupyToronto Pictures from Occupy Toronto http://t.co/FXIHeTrO on Flickr plz share! #ows #occupytoronto #oto #occupycanada #occupy, (MacPherson 2011) contains a link to Ms. MacPhersons Flickr photoset, itself containing critical images (one features a photo of two women, one being former parliamentary page Brigette DePape, holding a stop sign that reads Stop Harper). Third, it can be said that clandestine/invisible distribution networks existed on Twitter among some Occupy Toronto activists. Chief among these, of course, would be the official Occupy Toronto account itself (#occTO), which never attributed its posts to a particular person. The same can be said of the numerous opposition trolls, or those who posted inflammatory messages in an attempt to provoke activists. Foremost among these was the account Sattva01 (the name associated with this account, Sattva Namaste, cannot be confirmed). It follows that use of Twitter as a medium facilitated a transformation in social relations amongst Occupy Toronto activists. This is because instead of using media that rely on gatekeepers to disseminate information (even zines have editors), Twitter enabled all activists to voice their opinions for mass consumption. Although not all Occupy Toronto activists will have been able to use Twitter (namely, those

without access to the internet or smartphones), it enabled a greater number of activists to have their say than did traditional mass media, such as newspapers. Furthermore, Twitter facilitated a de-professionalization of journalism and publishing (all activists were able to post tweets and report on events), as it facilitated reader-writers as opposed to a distinction between producer and

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consumer. It is possible to prove the existence of reader-writers due to the fact that many users replied to the tweets of others. To name but one example, when Meagan Clayton tweeted that Maybe cops are being polite cuz [sic] THEYRE [sic] SUPPOSED TO BE? Maybe ppl [sic] are running away from your cameras b/c you're calling them violent? #OccTO, (Clayton 2011) an account appearing to represent Occupy Toronto replied, @NotThatMeg You clearly haven't seen the video of our police attacking ppl [sic] at the end of Oh Canada during #g20 have you? #Toronto #occTO (#occTO 2011b). Fifth and last, Twitter enabled Occupy Toronto activists to form horizontal linkages and networks rather than traditional hierarchical relationships (i.e., between editor and reporter). The Occupy movement was infamously non- hierarchical (Carlson 2011), and Twitter allows any user to post a 140-character tweet to anyone, from any kind of device (Farhi 2009). Because Twitter enabled activists to communicate amongst each other and with the wider public without the filter of an editor or other gatekeeper, it served to flatten hierarchies and provided activists with a platform with which to speak outside of the realm of mainstream media. No example of this is necessary, given that presumably, all tweets were posted directly by the person in control of a given account.

Aside from Attons (2002) important work, there exist several others that

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deal with alternative media theory or criticism of mainstream media more broadly. Nick Couldry and James Currans compilation Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World (2003a) is a prime example of the former, and Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomskys Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media (2002) an example of the latter. Indeed, Herman & Chomsky (2002) cite Curran in their work, and Couldry & Currans (2003a) work makes mention of Herman & Chomsky. Although these works are not as pertinent to the study at hand as is Attons (2002), they have nevertheless wielded great influence over the field of alternative media and as such, should not be overlooked entirely. First published in 1988, Herman & Chomskys (2002) work was the first to theorize a propaganda model that explains editorial bias inherent in mainstream news reporting. Atton himself addresses this model in his own work, when he examines the role played by advertising in the mainstream press (Atton 2002: 37). Bennett (Couldry & Curran: 2003a), too, addresses Herman & Chomsky (2002) in Couldry & Currans (2003a) work. He does so with regard to noting how there is a trend within mainstream media for corporations to shun social responsibility beyond profits for shareholders (Bennett 2003: 17), as argued by Herman & Chomsky (2002) in their first of five propaganda filters. Possibly the most often cited work with regard to providing a critique of mainstream media, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media (2002) appears time and again as theoretical justification for activists working

outside the realm of mainstream media. However, because their work does not address social media, was written before that of Atton (2002), and generally examines aspects of media that fall outside of the scope of this study, it is not necessary to provide further analysis of their work.

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The other work requiring mention due to its importance in the field is that of Couldry & Curran (2003a). Published soon after Attons Alternative Media, (2002) their work is a compilation of essays written by a variety of scholars, including themselves. They make note of the importance of Manuel Castells network society theory to the field of alternative media, which holds that media no longer have power as such, and that in a space of accelerated information, people, and finance flows, the media portal is increasingly important for all social action (something that Occupy Toronto can be categorized as) (Couldry & Curran 2003b: 7). However, Couldry & Currans (2002a) work focuses primarily on the question of whether media still holds power in the global network society, and less on the specifics of alternative media. This is not unlike how Herman & Chomskys (2002) work analyzes the political economy of mainstream media during the Cold War. Additionally, they themselves base their own definition of alternative media on that of Atton (2002) (Couldry & Curran 2003b: 7), and as such, their work adds little to the study at hand. Social Movements According to alternative media scholar John Downing, social movements are variously defined, often hard to categorize, and as a result of their

unconstitutional qualities resistant to rigid theorizing (Downing 2008: 43). However, social movement scholars Charles Tilly (2004) and Sidney G. Tarrow (2011) have done the best job of theorizing social movements so far, and so their

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works have contributed most significantly to this studys theoretical underpinnings. John D. H. Downing (2008) also provides a useful foundation for providing a linkage between social media and social movements, and as such, is also examined. Finally, two important works by David A. Snow and Sarah A. Soule (2010), and Manuel Castells (1983) respectively that did not significantly inform this study will be addressed. This is because of either their influence or their relevance to this study, and thus their exclusion shall be justified. Having written on the subject since at least 1974 (Tilly 1974), Charles Tillys Social Movements, 1768-2004 (2004) is helpful in that it provides a clear theoretical ground for understanding Occupy Toronto as a social movement. First of all, Tilly (2004) explains that German sociologist Lorenz von Stein first introduced the term social movement into scholarly discussions in 1850 (cited in Tilly 2004), in reference to French communist and socialist movements. Since that time, academic notions of the social movement have evolved from the idea of a continuous, unitary process by which the whole working class gained self-consciousness and power" (Tilly 2004: 5) to something more politically inclusive (von Stein was a contemporary of Karl Marx). Tilly explains that the social movement emerges from an innovative, consequential synthesis of the following three elements (Tilly 2004: 3):

40 1. A sustained, organized public effort making collective claims on target audiences (let us call it a campaign); 2. Employment of combinations from among the following forms of political action: creation of special-purpose associations and coalitions, public meetings, solemn processions, vigils, rallies, demonstrations, petition drives, statements to and in public media, and pamphleteering (call the variable ensemble of performances the social movement repertoire); and 3. Participants concerted public representations of WUNC: worthiness, unity, numbers, and commitment on the part of themselves and/or their constituencies (call them WUNC displays). (Tilly 2004: 3-4)

Using Tillys (2004) conceptualization of the social movement, it is easy to

see how Occupy Toronto and the Occupy movement can fit this description. Although the movements aims were not focused at all times, Occupy Toronto did make consistent and sustained calls for greater economic equality. They famously contrasted the wealthiest 1% of society with the 99% they claimed to represent (CBC News 2011a), as well as general opposition to austerity and capitalism, and in the case of Occupy Toronto, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Torontos Mayor Rob Ford. Activists arguments were presented online, in the press, and during sit-ins (CBC News 2011a). An examination of tweets alone demonstrates that claims were indeed made collectively and publicly, given that tens of thousands were posted publicly. Comparing Occupy Toronto with the second criterion, it is again possible to

see how it can be classified as a social movement. Although there appears to have been no formal coalition building due to Occupy Torontos lack of leadership, the movement had the support of various labour organizations including the Canadian Auto Workers (Mackrael 2011) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Mackrael 2011). Importantly, Occupy Toronto was one part of a broader,

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American-centric Occupy movement that had a significant presence in at least ten Canadian cities (OToole 2011a) and others worldwide. Activists held regular public meetings in the form of general assemblies that took place in St. James Park and elsewhere (Boesveld 2011; CBC News 2011a; Fiorito 2011). They also held rallies and demonstrations throughout the city, including at Toronto city hall (Living, undead take to streets, 2011) and Queens Park (CBC News 2011c). Petition drives were held by or on behalf the activists (Elash 2011), and hundreds of articles containing the phrase Occupy Toronto appeared. It is on this third point alone that Occupy Toronto diverges from the

archetypal social movement, as at first glance, it did not demonstrate worthiness by Tillys (2004) definition. First, however, let us examine what Tilly means by worthiness, unity, numbers, and commitment: 1. Worthiness: sober demeanor; neat clothing; presence of clergy, dignitaries, and mothers with children; 2. Unity: matching badges, headbands, banners, or costumes; marching in ranks; singing and chanting; 3. Numbers: headcounts, signatures on petitions, messages from constituents, filling streets; 4. Commitment: braving bad weather; visible participation by the old and handicapped; resistance to repression; ostentatious sacrifice, subscription, and/or benefaction. (Tilly 2004: 4) Activists did make a point of maintaining literal sobriety at St. James Park, and well-known Canadian public figures (fulfilling the dignitaries requirement) such as Olivia Chow (Mackrael et al. 2011), Naomi Klein (Khler & Ward 2011), Gordon Lightfoot (CBC News 2011e), and Bob Rae (Mackrael et al. 2011) made an appearance. They certainly showed unity by camping together in St. James Park,

dancing together, demonstrating together, and singing together. The popular Guy Fawkes (circa 2005 film V for Vendetta) mask also adorned many activists,

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although not all. Numbers were at times an issue for Occupy Toronto, but activists did circulate petitions, and attempt to fill streets (with varying degrees of success). Their strongest showing came with regarding to their commitment, as the hard core of activists camped out in a park regardless of weather, and they were inclusive of all participants, including the old and handicapped (in addition to the homeless, etc.). Tillys (2004) work makes it possible to systematically define how Occupy Toronto qualifies as a social movement. As such, it is the most useful tool in helping to lay a theoretical groundwork for understanding what makes Occupy Toronto a social movement. Sidney G. Tarrows Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics (2011) is referenced in the work of Tilly (2004), where it is stated that this book therefore picks up where Tarrows splendid survey of social movements leaves off (Tilly 2004: x). In this sense, the two works can be understood as companion pieces, and as such, both should be covered to provide the most complete picture. Additionally, Tarrows work has been very influential in the field of social movement studies, and provides further historical context, helping to locate Occupy Toronto and the Occupy movement more broadly within a wider historical plane stretching back to the 1780s (when social actions began to demonstrate characteristics of the modern social movement) (Tarrow 2011).

Tarrow defines the social movement as having four empirical properties:

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collective challenge, common purpose, social solidarity, and sustained interaction (Tarrow 2011: 9). He makes clear that his definition does not differ significantly from that of Tilly (2004), and so Tarrows work provides reinforcement for Tillys theoretical conceptualization of social movements, rather than a new framework with which to understand them (Tarrow 2011). Nevertheless, contrasting Occupy Toronto with Tarrows definition of social movement will further support the claim that Occupy Toronto fit the definition of social movement, so let us unpack what Tarrow meant by each of his four empirical properties. First, Tarrow explains that collective challenge refers to the way in which movements characteristically mount contentious challenges through disruptive direct action against elites, authorities, other groups, or cultural codes (Tarrow 2011: 9). Occupy Toronto mounted challenges against various elites (the 1%, Toronto public officials) and authorities (by-law officers, police), and disrupted traffic through demonstrations and public use of a park with its encampment. As such, Occupy Toronto fulfills the criteria for this first property. Second, common purpose is described as referring to how social movement activists join together to make common claims against those they oppose (Tarrow 2011). Once again, it is easy to see how Occupy Toronto fit this definition, in that activists settled together in one location (St. James Park) and shared the mutual aims of calling for greater economic equality, etc.

Third, social movement activists can be considered to demonstrate social

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solidarity when they show recognition of their common interests (Tarrow 2011: 11). Occupy Toronto fit this definition as well, in the sense that activists banded together to collectively demonstrate, and worked together in the form of general assemblies. Indeed, the very notion of representing the 99% shows that activists recognized a common interest in belonging to a lower socioeconomic class than those belonging to the 1%. Finally, sustained interaction refers to the way in which it is only by sustaining collective action against antagonists that a contentious episode becomes a social movement (Tarrow 2011: 12). Unfortunately, Tarrow (2011) does not provide a specific example of what constitutes a sustained period of time. However, having existed for at least 41 days, Occupy Toronto attempted to fulfill this final criterion (they were forcibly removed from their encampment on 23 November 2011, and had earlier pledged to remain indefinitely) (OToole 2011a). In addition to the seminal works of Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004), one additional scholar provided significant theoretical support to this study, if only in one sense. John D. H. Downings Social Movement Theories and Alternative Media: An Evaluation and Critique (2008) does as its title suggests in that it provides a brief overview of the works relevant to a study dealing with alternative media and social movements. His work covers all of the major works up to the date of publication, and thus provides further confirmation that the works cited in this study are the most relevant and significant.

45 Citing scholars ranging from Halloran et al. (1970) and Gitlin (1980) to Atton

(2002), Tarrow (2002) and Tilly (2004), Downing (2008) provides a thorough analysis of the academic landscape regarding alternative media and social movements. According to him, the two major journals dealing primarily with social movements (Mobilization and Social Movement Studies) rarely focus on media dimensions of social movements (Downing 2008: 41). Although Downing suggests that there is the greatest need for conducting studies with a focus on the developing world (Downing 2008), he nevertheless indicates a need for a study such as this one, given that too few studies focus on the use of alternative media by social movements. As Downing states, media research makes itself look silly if it does not foreground [the current significance of social movements on the world stage] (Downing 2008: 43). Aside from the works of Downing (2008), Tarrow (2002), and Tilly (2004), two additional works shall be briefly discussed due to either their influence (Castells 1983) or relevance (Snow & Soule 2010). Although these works were not relied on theoretically, they will be addressed so as to explain why the others were chosen. First published in 1983, Manuel Castells The City and the Grassroots: A Cross- Cultural Theory of Urban Social Movements (1983) is both influential and often cited within the field of social movement studies. Castells outlines a history of urban social movements, drawing a line from the Comunidades de Castilla of 1520-1522 through the 1871 Paris Commune to the 1960s revolts within American inner cities (Castells 1983). He calls social movements the ultimate sources of democratic life

(Castells 1983: 4) and offers a definition of what he means by urban social

46

movement based upon an analysis of Madrids Citizen Movement (Castells 1983). An inspection of Castells theory of social movements uncovers a theory that appears to privilege relatively small groups such as counter-cultural squatters to middle class neighbourhood associations and shanty town [sic] defense groups (Castells 1983: 328). This is primarily due to the fact that, first and foremost, Castells states that the first basic characteristic of the social movement is that they are related to the city (or community) (Castells 1983: 328). He relies heavily upon the theory of Alain Touraine to provide his definition, and states that a social movement is the organized collective action by which a class-actor struggles for the social definition of historicity in a given historical ensemble (cited in Castells 1983: 301). His definition bares little similarity to that of scholars such as Tarrow (2011) or Tilly (2004) (although he cites Tilly no fewer than five times), and is not particularly helpful when it comes to helping to understand whether or not Occupy Toronto (and the Occupy movement more broadly) constitutes a social movement. A Primer on Social Movements by David A. Snow and Sarah A. Soule (2010) attempts to provide a comprehensive theoretical toolkit with which to analyze social movements. Having been published relatively recently, Snow & Soules (2010) work has not yet been given the time necessary to gain the level of influence enjoyed by Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004). Their work is particularly helpful in that it draws from a wide range of disciplines, and highlights that social movements need not only emerge from the left of the political spectrum (indeed, they demonstrate

that racist hate movements also fit the definition) (Snow & Soule 2010: 49).

47

However, their conceptualization of social movements is extremely similar to that of Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004). According to Snow & Soule (2010), social movements can be conceptualized in terms of five key elements: 1. They are challengers to or defenders of existing structures or systems of authority; 2. They are collective rather than individual enterprises; 3. They act, in varying degrees, outside existing institutional or organizational arrangements; 4. They operate with some degree of organization; and 5. They typically do so with some degree of continuity. (Snow & Soule 2010: 6) They themselves acknowledge a similarity to the theories of Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (McAdam, Tarrow, & Tilly 2001), and cite accordingly. As such, the theory of Snow & Soule (2010) can be seen as providing support for the theories of Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004) rather than significantly building upon their theories. Provided that this is the case, and that Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004) have thus far proven more influential, Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004) were relied upon for the provision of a theoretical foundation rather than Snow & Soule (2010). In this section, two research questions have been answered: a) Does activist use of Twitter adhere to the principles of alternative media; and b) Can Occupy Toronto be considered a social movement? To answer the first question, yes, activist use of Twitter does adhere to the

principles of alternative media. As outlined by Chris Atton (2002), activist use of Twitter fits the typology of alternative media. Specifically, use of Twitter by Occupy

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Toronto activists adheres to the principles of alternative media in that the content, visual language (when images appear), clandestine/invisible distribution networks (as many users chose to use pseudonyms), transformed social relations (nearly all contributors to the conversation appear to have been amateurs rather than professional journalists, and they were certainly reader-writers as they frequently responded to other tweets), and horizontal linkages (the Occupy movement was infamous for its lack of leadership, and Occupy Toronto was no different) all point to it being an example of alternative media when used by Occupy Toronto activists. This is important, because a study examining social movement activists use of alternative media in the age of social media (Poell & Borra 2011) must ensure that the medium being studied actually fits the definition of alternative media. To answer the second question, yes, Occupy Toronto can be considered a

social movement. This is because it fits within Charles Tilly's (2004) conceptualization of a social movement. Specifically, Occupy Toronto adhered to the definition of a social movement in the following ways: it made consistent and sustained calls for greater economic equality, as well as general opposition to austerity, capitalism, and in the case of Occupy Toronto, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; Occupy Toronto activists employed several of forms of political action as outlined by Tilly (2004) in his conceptualization of the social movement; Although there appears to have been no formal coalition building due to Occupy Torontos lack of leadership, the movement had the support of various labour organizations including the Canadian Auto Workers (Mackrael 2011) and Canadian Union of Public Employees (Mackrael

2011); Importantly, Occupy Toronto was one part of a broader, global Occupy movement that had a significant presence in at least ten Canadian cities (OToole 2011a); Regarding Tilly's (2004) criterion of "WUNC displays," Occupy Toronto

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activists did make a point of maintaining literal sobriety at St. James Park, and well- known Canadian public figures made an appearance; Activists displayed unity, and although numbers were at times an issue, activists did circulate petitions, and attempt to fill streets (with varying degrees of success); Finally, their commitment was considerable, given that Occupy Toronto activists camped in a park for more than five weeks. This is important, because a study examining social movement activists use of alternative media in the age of social media (Poell & Borra 2011) must ensure that the social movement being studied actually fits the definition of social movement.

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Chapter 3: Methodological Framework


Contentment with Content Analysis The method selected to conduct the case study of Occupy Toronto tweets is the content analysis, which is a perfect fit for such a study. This chapter will examine several questions, including: what a content analysis is, why this method was selected, what content was analyzed, how the data were coded (i.e., a coding manual is provided), and finally, why a decision was made to normalize the data rather than to include retweets. What Is Content Analysis? First published in 1980, and having been cited many times since then, Klaus Krippendorffs Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (2013) provides a most useful overview of this method. Krippendorffs (2013) definition is that it is a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from texts (or other meaningful matter) to the contexts of their use (Krippendorff 2013: 24). This has evolved from the original definition of content analysis, which was a research technique for the objective, systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication (Berelson 1952: 18). Notable when contrasting the two definitions is that content analysis is now seen as both a qualitative and quantitative method, and that specific reference is made to texts. As Krippendorff explains, text the reading of text, the use of text within a social context, and the analysis of text serves as a convenient metaphor in content analysis (Krippendorff 2013: 25).

Essentially, the word text in this sense is used to refer to many different types of data at once.

51

According to Krippendorff (2013), contemporary content analysis has three distinguishing characteristics (Krippendorff 2013: 1). First, a content analysis is an empirically grounded method, exploratory in process, and predictive or inferential in intent (Krippendorff 2013). Krippendorff (2013) is referring to the fact that the content analysis is verifiable by observation rather than by theory. A content analysis should be replicable, whereas methods reliant on theory alone are difficult to accurately reproduce. Second, contemporary content analysis transcends traditional notions of symbols, contents, and intents (Krippendorff 2013). This means it can be understood as referring to the way in which the content in content analysis is not merely limited to questions about who says what, through which channels, to whom, and with which effects (Lasswell 1960). Rather, researchers must now examine texts not merely as symbols or representations existing in a vacuum, but within broader conceptual frameworks. Finally, contemporary content analysis has been forced to develop a methodology of its own, one that enables researchers to plan, execute, communicate, reproduce, and critically evaluate their analyses whatever the particular results (Krippendorff 2013: 1-5). This refers to the way in which content analysis has recently evolved as a method due to the emergence of larger contexts (i.e., small collections of printed messages such as newspaper articles have given way to electronic texts), the necessary collaboration of researchers in the pursuit of large-scale analyses (due to growing sample sizes), and the large volumes of electronically available data (Krippendorff 2013: 4-5).

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Krippendorff (2013) makes clear that the availability of copious amounts of digital data is in the midst of radically altering how content analyses are conducted. According to Steve Stemler (2001), who has analyzed Krippendorffs (2013)

work, there are six questions that must be addressed in every content analysis: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Which data are analyzed? How are they defined? What is the population from which they are drawn? What is the context relative to which the data are analyzed? What are the boundaries of the analysis? What is the target of the inferences? (Stemler 2011) The answers to these questions will construct a foundation from which this studys analysis will be conducted in the following chapter. Why Content Analysis? When deciding upon a method for this study, various works regarding alternative media, social media, and social movements were consulted. Ultimately, content analysis made the most sense for two reasons: 1) It is the ideal method for analyzing a large corpus of texts; and 2) Other researchers have already applied this method in similar contexts (including social movement activists use of Twitter). As outlined above, content analysis as a method is increasingly concerned with how to analyze large samples of electronic data. Given that this study deals with a large sample of electronic data (7,858 tweets), content analysis is compatible with regard to selecting a method that enables researchers to systematically codify and analyze texts.

53 Discussed extensively throughout this study, Thomas Poell and Erik Borras

(2011) content analysis of data gleaned from three social media websites provides a close example of a similar study. Analyzing a somewhat larger dataset (11,556 tweets, 222 YouTube videos, and 3,338 Flickr photos), Poell & Borra conduct a content analysis of tweet data by identifying a set of codes (police activity, protesters issues, black bloc, condemning violence and arrests, and other) (Poell & Borra 2011: 19) and assigning key phrases to each of these codes. Katherine Phipps and Katryna Szagalas Social Movements and the News Media (2007) is also similar in that it conducts a content analysis of texts and focuses on the relationship between social movements and the news media (coincidentally, also in Toronto). Although Phipps & Szagala (2007) analyze newspaper articles rather than social media data, they use a set of codes (violence, issues the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) were trying to bring forward, and other issues) (Phipps & Szagala 2007: 42) not entirely dissimilar from either this study or that of Poell & Borra (2011). Relative to this study, their sample size was tiny (six articles per newspaper from a total of two newspapers) (Phipps & Szagala 2007: 43-44), however, they were still able to infer from their data. Finally, Cynthia Chew and Gunther Eysenbachs Pandemics in the age of Twitter: Content Analysis of Tweets During the 2009 H1N1 Outbreak (2010) provides another example of a similar study in that it constitutes of a content analysis of a sample of tweets (5,395) (Chew & Eysenbach 2010: 1) over a period of several months. Although their study did not focus on either alternative media or social

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movements, the methodology of Chew & Eysenbach (2010) is similar to that of this study in that they mined tweet data, randomly sampled, excluded non-English tweets, and manually coded their data. They contrasted this analysis with automated coding in order to test the feasibility of automated coding (Chew & Eysenbach 2010). Importantly, Chew & Eysenbach (2010) provides this study with justification for the random sampling of data, as well as the exclusion of non-English tweets. Additionally, a comparison between Chew & Eysenbachs (2010) sample size and that of this study (5,395 compared to 7,858), as well as taking in to account the validity of their inferences, provides support for the selection of a sample size 7,858. What Content Was Analyzed? Having previously examined what a content analysis is and why it was selected as a method, an overview of how this method was applied is now appropriate. First, some essential points about the data used, followed by necessary points regarding sampling. Regarding the data themselves, they were provided by Topsy, a San Francisco-based web analytics company that offers the only full-scale index of the public social web (Topsy 2012). 39,294 tweets containing the hashtags #occTO, #occupyto, and #occupytoronto were mined, representing every public tweet posted between 1 October 2011 and 31 December 2011. These particular hashtags were chosen due to their popularity, and the fact that when sampled together, they represented nearly the entire Twitter conversation regarding Occupy Toronto (one

55

other hashtag, #oto, appeared far less frequently, and typically in conjunction with one of the aforementioned hashtags). When it came to selecting a sample from the original dataset, a random sample comprising 20% of the 39,294 tweets was taken. As stated in Chew & Eysenbach (2010), there are no existing methodologies for sampling tweets and as such, it is not possible to perform a formal sample size calculation. In their study, it was simply determined that a particular subset of the total number of tweets would constitute a sufficient sample, and retweets were removed "to prevent popular posts or spam from saturating the sample" (Chew & Eysenbach 2010: 4-5). Since Chew & Eysenbach (2010) determine that a random sample of tweets is enough to sufficiently represent the population and a sample of 20% provides a 99% confidence level, a sample of 20% was selected. The random sample was taken by utilizing the random number generator within Microsoft Excel. In accord with Poell & Borra (2011), tweets were categorized through emergent coding (Stemler 2001). Because it was decided that the results of this study would be contrasted with those found in Poell & Borra (2011), the same coding method was used. To summarize, the tweets were first examined and a checklist of features was developed. Then, these features were assembled into categories, which are founded in the coding manual that can be found in the following section of this chapter. Finally, the tweets were coded according to these six categories. Poell & Borra found that this enabled them to "make more systematic claims about the [protest] account, and whether it was primarily concerned with the

issues of the protests, or the accompanying spectacle" (Poell & Borra 2011: 7).

56

Because an aim of this study was to do the same, Poell & Borra's (2011) method was closely adhered to. It should be noted here that one code, other, could have been broken down further (e.g., trolling could have been a distinct category), yet the focus of this study was primarily the first three codes, and so this was not necessary. Coding Manual Code Protesters issues Key phrases The 1%, the 99%, austerity, Bay Street bankers, capitalists, change, charter and constitutional rights, corporations, economic inequality, electoral system, the food movement, Rob Ford, gap between rich and poor, Stephen Harper, homeless, no future, omnibus bill, property seizures, real unemployment, the rich, Torontos financial district, US economic policy, etc. Arrested, black bloc mentality will kill what were doing, cop vehicles present, demonstration broken up by police, people enjoying the muffins that 31 division police officers gave us, police action, police are not moving in, police brutality, police dismantle tents, police in riot gear, police kettling [sic] occupiers, police officer, police surround the park, riot cops, pre-dawn raid, thanks to police, you never need an argument against the use of violence, etc. Cops expressing sympathy with the crowd, Occupy Toronto demands released of arrested demonstrator, police are not there to protect and serve the 99%, etc. Anyone know how to dismantle a yurt?, can anyone confirm this?, help to spread the word to all Toronto artists, I need someone to grab flyers, join us, let us know, please retweet, spread the word,

Police/Violence

Both of the above

Requests (not including trolling)

57 tell your friends to follow me, this is why we need your help, etc. Anonymous group threatens cyber attack, CUPE Ontario is heading to St. James Park, midnight eviction deadline nears, Gordon Lightfoot showing some support for Occupy Toronto, Occupy Toronto has been granted an interim injunction, Occupy Toronto protesters given eviction notices, protesters can remain in the park for now, we have over 140 tents, etc.

General information

Other (including trolling) Why Werent Retweets Included?

Expanding upon Cha et al.s (2010) discussion of methodology in their study seeking to analyze Twitter user influence, the decision was made to not factor in retweets to this studys content analysis. Redundancies were removed from the dataset (i.e., the dataset was normalized in statistical terms) because, in order to analyze the content of the tweets to determine whether or not these match particular themes, this was necessary. Retweets did not add new content, but rather repeated it. In this sense, retweets can be considered redundant, because they did not add any new information to the overall conversation regarding Occupy Toronto. Whereas for Cha et al. it was important to factor in users with the highest number of retweets as being more influential than other users, and thus to not normalize their dataset, the determining of influence was not a factor in this study (Cha et al. 2010: 4). Furthermore, a retweet does not tell us anything conclusive other than that a user viewed the tweet and decided to repost it. They may or may not have agreed with the original tweets sentiment, and regardless, there is no way

for a researcher to know from the dataset who made a given retweet. The dataset provides a researcher with information about the original poster, such as

58

geographical information and username, but nothing about users who retweet. As such, there is the potential for these users to be agents provocateurs, and to include this data in the content analysis would inherently bias the results against the protesters. This methodological overview has examined the essential components of a content analysis, why this method was selected for a case study of Occupy Toronto tweets, briefly discussed relevant studies that share this methodology, and provided a coding manual for understanding the analysis. Furthermore, the decision to not include retweets in the case study has been justified, given the fact that a number of related studies have chosen to analyze retweets. Next, I will provide an analysis of 7,858 Occupy Toronto tweets so as to better understand social movement activists' use of Twitter as alternative media.

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Chapter 4: Analysis and Argument


Vox Twitter, Vox Populi: The Voice of Twitter Is the Voice of the People As addressed earlier, it has been stated that social movement activists must rely on their own alternative media, as opposed to mainstream media (Halloran et al. 1970; Gitlin 1980; Atton 2002; Poell & Borra 2011). In this papers theory section, it was then outlined how Occupy Toronto activists use of Twitter fit the bill of alternative media according to Attons (2002) typology, as well as how Occupy Toronto fit the definition of social movement according to Tarrow (2011) and Tilly (2004). Data from Twitter were selected for analysis primarily due to the fact that Poell & Borra (2011) identified Twitter as being the social media platform that most closely adheres to alternative media principles. As such, it was expected that this content analysis should result in findings at least somewhat similar to theirs, which is to say that the Twitter account of Occupy Toronto should be primarily about police activity and violence (Poell & Borra 2011). This analysis section will first cover Klaus Krippendorffs six essential questions (Stemler 2001), and will be followed by an interpretation of the data. Answering Krippendorffs Six Questions Building upon the research conducted thus far, this analysis will answer the six questions that must be addressed in each content analysis, as outlined by Krippendorff (Krippendorff 2013; Stemler 2001). These will be addressed in chronological order, as outlined in Stemler (2001).

First, which data are analyzed? This analysis examines the results of a

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content analysis conducted on a corpus of texts. Specifically, it covers 7,858 tweets, or a sample of 20% of 39,294. Tweets were selected, rather than Flickr photos or YouTube videos, for two reasons. First, it has been previously established that Twitter best adheres to alternative media principles, whereas Flickr and YouTube tend to be dominated by relatively small numbers of users (Poell & Borra 2011). Second, there are far more data available from Twitter compared to the other two. Unlike other studies of a similar nature (Gaffney 2010; Poell & Borra 2011), a scraper or toolkit was not used, but rather the data were acquired from a third party (Topsy 2012). Second, how are they defined? As outlined earlier, these data represent every tweet containing the hashtags #occTO, #occupyto, and #occupytoronto, publicly posted between 1 October 2011 and 31 December 2011. They were defined by one of six codes: protesters issues, police/violence, both of the above, requests (not including trolling), general information, or none of the above (including trolling). Each tweet was coded individually, due to the fact that a tweet can be defined physically in terms of their natural or intuitive borders (Stemler 2001). The codes themselves were emergent, in that they were established following some preliminary examination of the data (Stemler 2001). For the sake of reproducibility and transparency, examples of how each tweet was categorized have been provided in the coding manual found in Chapter 4. To provide further clarity, it should be noted that for the purposes of this study, all

references to police were categorized as police/violence, regardless of whether

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the tweets connotations were positive or negative. A specific example of this can be given with the tweet #occupytoronto People are enjoying the muffins that 31 division police officers gave us; Irony? Can't tell anymore since Alannis [sic] (Letting SmokeOut 2011). In this example, police officers are described as having given muffins to Occupy Toronto activists. This comes as a surprise to the original poster, who asks rhetorically whether this gesture should be considered ironic. Regardless, no mention of any aggressive or violent behavior on the part of the police is mentioned, and yet this tweet was categorized as police/violence due to the simple fact that it is a tweet about the police, or more specifically, something that the police have done. By discussing the police in this tweet, the original poster has reported on something that the police have done. Third, what is the population from which they were drawn? The answer to this question is relatively simple. First, and broadly speaking, the data consist of posts made publicly to the social media website Twitter. In this sense, in order to contribute to this study, an activist would have had to have access to Twitter, and presumably, their own account. Second, and more specifically, the data consist of any tweet including one or more of the three hashtags, #occTO, #occupyto, and/or #occupytoronto. Fourth, what is the context relative to which the data are analyzed? This question can be answered on five levels. Most broadly, the data are analyzed within a context of social movement usage of alternative media since the anti-Vietnam War

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movement of 1968. More specifically, the data reflect posts made about the Occupy Toronto movement, which itself was a segment of the larger Occupy Canada movement (CBC News 2011a), an outgrowth of the American-centric Occupy Wall Street movement (CBC News 2011d). Finally, within the context of the Occupy Toronto movement itself, the tweets were analyzed in relation to actual events that happened during the movements occupation of St. James Park, such as the first day (15 October 2011) (CBC 2011f; Mackrael et al. 2011) and the forcible eviction (23 November 2011) (CBC 2011f; Ha 2011). Given that Occupy Toronto activists vowed to continue their protest following the 23 November 2011 eviction from St. James Park (Ha 2011), it was decided to include tweets posted following the eviction as well. Given that coverage of Occupy Toronto turned to stories about cleanup (OToole 2011b), and Occupy Toronto tweets dwindled significantly in December 2011, the end of December 2011 was selected as the cut-off point. Fifth, what are the boundaries of the analysis? To answer this question, another example will be appropriate. Consider when the Occupy Toronto Media account posted SOLIDITY [sic] TO OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN #OCCUPYSF CURRENT [sic] UNDER SEIGE [sic] BY RIOT POLICE. #occupytoronto IS WATCHING! (Occupy Toronto Media 2011). At first glance, this tweet can potentially be coded as either police/violence (due to the mention of siege and riot police) or as general information (due to the fact that the tweet is drawing attention to an event unfolding at Occupy San Francisco). However, because this study sought to determine which of protesters issues or police and violence tweets were discussing more frequently, and because a tweet was only coded general information if it

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consisted of general information and not any language referring to either police or violence, the above tweet was coded as police/violence. The same logic was true when applied to tweets containing anything considered an issue of the protesters. Sixth, and finally, what is the target of the inferences? Broadly speaking, the target of the inferences is to further understanding of social movement activists use of alternative media. With regard to the social movement aspect, this study focuses specifically on Occupy Toronto. Pertaining to alternative media, it examines activists use of Twitter. Interpreting the Data Now that the six questions identified by Krippendorff (Stemler 2001) as

essential have been answered, an interpretation of the data will be provided. First, the entire range of tweets will be examined, followed by two isolated dates within the range. 15 October 2011 and 23 November 2011 represent arguably the two most important days on the timeline of Occupy Toronto (Hopper, OToole, Kuitenbrouwer, & Calabrese 2011; OToole 2011a), and so it was decided to determine whether tweets posted on these days corresponded with the overall analysis with regard to the number of tweets coded as protesters issues, police/violence, etc. Given that, as demonstrated below, the vast majority (91%) of Occupy Toronto tweets were not coded as police/violence, it will be of academic interest to determine whether tweets posted on all dates downplayed police and violence.

Table 1

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Top Tweets: Overall

14.67% 29.26% 8.97% 6.43% 0.42%

Protesters' issues Police/Violence Both of the above Requests General information Other

40.19%

Table 1 demonstrates results that were entirely unexpected, since Poell & Borra identified in their study that tweets posted by Toronto G20 protesters were primarily about police activity (Poell & Borra 2011: 11). As displayed in the table above, a mere 9% of tweets overall were coded as police/violence, rising to 9.5% when also including tweets about both of the above. This means that people who tweeted about Occupy Toronto focused heavily on things other than police and violence; 91%. However, to put this information in context, it should also be noted that the Occupy Toronto encampment witnessed relatively little police presence (CBC News 2011b; Wente 2011) when compared to the G20 protests that took place one year earlier (Poell & Borra 2011). Perhaps this can provide some justification for why the results of this study differ so significantly from that of Poell & Borra (2011). Additionally, the people who tweeted about Occupy Toronto also paid

relatively little attention to protesters issues, with this code having been applied 15% of the time. This means that while Occupy Toronto activists may not have

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talked about the police nearly as frequently as their 2010 G20 counterparts (Poell & Borra 2011), they fared little better when it came to discussing their issues. As will be demonstrated in the following two tables, the proportion of tweets falling within certain categories did not remain static throughout Occupy Torontos existence. Table 2

Top Tweets: 15 October 2011

27.72%

21.52%

Protesters' issues Police/Violence 5.82% 0.51% 4.18% Both of the above Requests General information Other

39.62%

Table 2 demonstrates that on the Occupy Toronto movements first official

day of existence, one trend emerged as noteworthy above all others. This is the fact that, between tweets coded as protesters issues and tweets coded as police/violence, tweets falling within the former category outnumbered those in the latter category by 3.66 times. The number of tweets coded as protesters issues consisted of 22% of the tweets posted that day. The number of tweets coded as

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police/violence was actually lower (6%) than the overall mean (9%), showing that in the movements earlier days, the focus was for the most part not on police and violence. When a tweet was coded as police/violence, it was likely to read something like Nice march, few police, quite unlike G20 knock on wood. Hope there's still an #occupytoronto to return to when I beat this cold. #occupyTO (chriskissoff 2011) or First day of #OccupyToronto, cops were being friendly, and one even smiled. Let's hope that lasts (Zafar 2011). All of this points to results even more dramatically divergent from those found in Poell & Borra (2011), and the fact that social movement activists appear to limit discussion of police and violence when there is little or no police presence on the ground. This last point is corroborated by the next table, which shows that not all days saw few tweets coded as police/violence. Table 3

Top Tweets: 23 November 2011


5.38%

17.27%

Protesters' issues Police/Violence 35.54% Both of the above Requests

36.67%

General information Other 0.50%

4.01%

67 When analyzing the 23 November 2011 data, one noteworthy trend emerged

nearly immediately. This, of course, was the fact that the conversation had turned from being about protesters issues (or indeed, anything else) to being about police/violence. At 36%, police/violence represented the second most populous code for that day, surpassed only by tweets coded as general information, at 37%. Given that 23 November 2011 was the day that Occupy Toronto activists were evicted (CBC News 2011f; Hopper et al. 2011; OToole 2011a), as well as the fact that it was the day that saw the greatest number of arrests, 11 (CBC News 2011f), it follows logically that tweets should focus on police and violence. Tweets posted earlier in the day discussed the large police presence, an example being At 3pm 67 cop vehicles present including video, emergency, and 3 buses of riot police #OccupyToronto (Pahwa 2011). However, as the day progressed, tweets coded as police/violence turned toward discussion focusing on the peaceful nature of the eviction. An example of this can be observed in a tweet posted in the evening, #Toronto city manager thanks protestors for remaining peaceful. Thanks to police as well #occupytoronto (Simpson 2011). Tweets coded as protesters issues were far below the overall mean, at 5%. This shows that, while the overall trend was for there to be more tweets coded as protesters issues than police/violence, this may have had more to do with a low police presence overall than with activists own recognition that they had placed too great of an emphasis on reporting police activities during the Toronto G20 protest (Poell & Borra 2011).

Argument

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Given the preceding analyses, it is possible to draw some inferences from the

data. The first of three parts to this argument will come in the form of an answer to the third research question outlined at the outset of this study, which was, did activists talk more about police and violence than issues? The unsatisfying answer to this question is that it depends. Across the entire date range, the Twitter conversation regarding Occupy Toronto paid greater attention to protesters issues than it did police and violence. However, both codes were given relatively little priority overall, given that combined they accounted for 24% of the total conversation. This infers that Occupy Toronto activists used Twitter differently than did the 2010 G20 protesters, given that the latter devoted nearly all of their attention to codes falling under this studys definition of either protesters issues or police/violence (Poell & Borra 2011). Also, as demonstrated in Table 3, a much greater amount of the conversation was dedicated to talk about police and violence on 23 November 2011, when police presence was at its height. On this day, talk of topics coded as police/violence came close to outnumbering all other codes. This infers that there is a correlation between a heightened police presence on the ground, and whether activists are talking about police or violence on Twitter. So while overall, Occupy Toronto activists did not talk more about police and violence than issues, they did do so when police presence was at its height. The second part of this argument answers the fourth research question, if

activists did not talk more about police and violence than issues, were there any days when they did? This has been addressed above, but the answer is yes, there

was a day when they did. This was 23 November 2011, when the Occupy Toronto encampment was evicted from St. James Park in Toronto, Canada. Finally, the third part of this argument, which is an answer to why is this

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significant? These inferences are significant because they indicate that the Occupy Toronto tweets mirror the strong event-oriented focus of often-criticized mainstream protest reporting practices (Poell & Borra 2011: 1). This is because when an event such as an eviction occurred, the discussion quickly shifted to what was happening at the moment rather than a discussion of the movements underlying causes such as economic inequality. To recap what was first identified in Halloran et al. (1970), mainstream media coverage of protests decontextualize the event from being a statement about a cause or an issue, and instead portray the protest as an event unconnected to a broader cause. This is what Poell & Borra (2011) are referring to when they say that the 2010 G20 protesters own account of the protest mirrors the strong event-focus of the mainstream media, and this is exactly what the Occupy Toronto activists did on 23 November 2011 when they paid greater attention to events than their issues. Additionally, the Occupy Toronto activists mirrored another practice identified in Halloran et al. (1970), albeit unintentionally due to their lack of leadership. This was the framing of a demonstration or protest through a lens of violence (Halloran et al. 1970). In this section, three research questions have been answered:

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a) Did activists talk more about police and violence than issues; b) If activists did not talk more about police and violence than issues, were there any days when they did; and c) Why is this significant? A content analysis of the data has provided answers to these questions, as outlined in Tables 1, 2, and 3. It was found that activists did not talk more about police and violence, but that the answer also depended on the date range selected. Overall, Occupy Toronto activists discussed issues more than police and violence, yet they did not on the day of their eviction, 23 November 2011. On this day, activists discussed police and violence more than nearly any other code, at 36% of the total Twitter conversation. This is important for two reasons. One is that Occupy Toronto activists avoided the mistake of their 2010 Toronto G20 counterparts and did not focus discussion on police violence (Poell & Borra 2011). This suggests that Twitter was used effectively as an alternative medium, in that it did not frame the movement through a lens of violence, as the mainstream media have been accused of doing (Halloran et al. 1970; Gitlin 1980; Cottle 2008; Poell & Borra 2011; Veneti et al. 2012). The other reason is that it appears as though activists did frame discussion of the movement through a lens of violence on days when police presence was at its greatest. This suggests that activists themselves did not needlessly discuss police and violence, but rather they did so only when activists were facing, in this case, arrest and eviction. This begs the question of whether, if activists themselves report on police and violence during events featuring a heightened police presence, mainstream protest reports should be expected to avoid doing the same.

These inferences indicate that the Occupy Toronto tweets mirrored

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mainstream protest reporting. This is because when an event such as an eviction occurred, discussion quickly shifted from being about the issues to the event. This is important because, by mirroring mainstream protest reporting practices on at least one occasion, Occupy Toronto activists helped to portray the protest as an event unconnected to a broader cause on this occasion. This practice was first identified in Halloran et al.'s (1970) study of mainstream reporting on the anti-Vietnam War movement, and was mirrored completely by 2010 Toronto G20 protesters in Poell & Borra's (2011) study of that movement's alternative media account. While Occupy Toronto activists did not always focus on events rather than issues, they did so when police presence was heightened, and thus there was at least one occasion on which activists framed their reports similar to how the mainstream media would have been expected to do (Halloran et al. 1970; Gitlin 1980; Cottle 2008; Poell & Borra 2011; Veneti et al. 2012). The implication of this is that until social movement activists stop framing their own reports through a lens of police and violence, mainstream protest reports can't reasonably be expected to stop doing the same. After all, if the activists themselves are not discussing their issues when the spotlight is on them, how will mainstream protest reporters know what it is that the activists are protesting in the first place?

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Conclusion
This study has reviewed the academic literature regarding alternative media

and social movements, and has found that the literature has progressed from examining the ways in which mainstream media are biased against activists to how the activists themselves are using social media to report alternative protest accounts. It has shown as conclusively as possible that Occupy Toronto was indeed a social movement, and that Occupy Toronto activists used Twitter as alternative media. Finally, it has established that not all social movements have used alternative media to frame their movement through a lens of police and violence, at least not all of the time. The fact that Occupy Toronto activists did focus predominantly on police and

violence on at least one occasion, 23 November 2011, shows that this group of activists did not behave entirely dissimilarly to those reporting on the 2010 Toronto G20 protests. By placing a greater emphasis on police and violence than their issues on one day, activists mirrored much-maligned mainstream protest reporting on 23 November 2011. That they did not do so for the duration of the movements timeline shows that not all social movements report in an identical way, and that additional studies of different movements at different times are required before any conclusions can be drawn about whether social movement activists are truly using alternative media in a way that mirrors mainstream media. It is important to note that this study has been limited in a number of ways. First, not all tweets were analyzed, but rather a large random sample was selected

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for analysis. Although the size of the sample, 20%, was large enough to accurately reflect the overall dataset, there is always a chance that a sample may not accurately reflect the population from which it was taken. Second, Occupy encampments across Canada including Occupy Toronto experienced relatively little of either police presence or violence, and as such, it is still expected that a movement experiencing police presence and violence on the scale of the 2010 Toronto G20 protests will find results similar to those of Poell & Borra (2011). This is to say that they will report in far greater numbers on police and violence than on the issues that they are meant to be protesting in support of. A further note should be made about a prominent trend that was recognized in the content analysis. This was the phenomenon of trolls attempting to redirect the conversation away from discussion about the movements issues, and toward less productive issues and topics. Because of Twitters public nature (anyone can create an account and join in on any conversation just by using a hashtag), use of this medium by activists opens them up the possibility of people other than activists posing as activists. This is especially the case with people who do not support the movement and wish to either demoralize or redirect the attention of activists. Although this phenomenon did not relate to the research questions asked at the outset of this study and thus were not examined in any detail, future studies may consider examining whether these trolls are perhaps a cause of social movement activists redirecting their attention away from issues and toward police and violence.

This study has added to the academic discourse surrounding social

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movement usage of alternative media in the age of social media. By demonstrating that for the time being, there is no clear answer with regard to whether social movement activists are framing their own protests through a lens of violence, a lucid argument has been made in favour of conducting further research. Though there is still much that can and must be learned on the subject, this study has been able to bring us closer to answering the question, to tweet or not to tweet?

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