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This paper examines the influence of social media on political participation in American social movements, focusing on the cases of the Occupy and Tea Party movements during their heyday in the period from 2009 to 2012 as a framework for analysis. Users of these social networks have access to instantaneous information dissemination, broad new political networks, and a wealth of radical thought; but also can be diverted from real-world participation by the appeal of low-cost online activism. Using a foundation of strong-tie/weak-tie activism theory, demographics surveys, and media coverage this paper argues that social media has reshaped the process by which certain privileged demographic subgroups are drawn to participate in political social movements, and thereby suggests possible preconditions to convert social media activism into real-world participation.
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Carter-Parks, Alexander Elliott, "The 21st Century Activist's Dilemma: Social Media's Impact on the Occupy and Tea Party Movements" (2015). Senior Projects Spring 2015. 124.
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