Deen Freelon, assistant professor at American University, will give a Junck Research Colloquium talk, "The Measure of a Movement: Quantifying Black Lives Matter’s Social Media Power,” on Monday, March 28, at noon in the Freedom Forum Conference Center in Carroll Hall.
Abstract: The Measure of a Movement: Quantifying Black Lives Matter’s Social Media Power
Use of social media by social movements has grown into a thriving research topic over the past decade. Yet the field currently lacks a theoretically-grounded and empirically sound means of measuring the power social movements can exert through social media. Further, much existing work focuses primarily or exclusively on the movements themselves, ignoring the adversarial and monitorial participants who interact with movement participants online. Understanding how these disparate interests jockey for narrative and framing power over time is essential to understanding how social movements succeed and fail in their uses of social media. In this talk, Freelon will introduce a quantitative suite of measures of social media power based on Charles Tilly’s notion of WUNC (worthiness, unity, numbers, commitment) that can be applied to all parties to movement-related social media conversations. He will discuss some of the theoretical and practical considerations in computing and interpreting these measures using 40.8 million tweets about police killings of unarmed Black people.
Bio: Deen Freelon
Deen Freelon is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC. He has two major areas of expertise: 1) political expression through digital media, and 2) the use of data science and computational methods to extract, preprocess, and analyze massive amounts of online data. Freelon has published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, American Behavioral Scientist, and Information, Communication & Society. He is the creator of ReCal, an online intercoder reliability application that has been used by thousands of researchers around the world; and TSM, a network analysis module for the Python programming language.