Linda Hon presents on digital social advocacy

Published: April 21st, 2015

Category: Faculty news, Research News

Last week, Linda Hon presented a paper, “Framing and Digital Social Advocacy within the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice,” to the Southern States Communication Association.

This study examined digital activism, framing, and social media communication. Million Hoodies was the focus of this study because the organization displays many of the features of digital activist groups identified by digital communication scholars. Million Hoodies also effectively mobilized supporters after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Individual posts, photos, and linked content on Million Hoodies’ Facebook page were analyzed interpretatively to identify specific frames and evidence of Snow and Benford’s (1988) core framing processes (diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational) as well as Snow, Rochford, Worden, and Benford’s (1986) frame alignment processes (bridging, amplification, extension, and transformation). Results showed that Million Hoodies used justice and racism as diagnostic frames. Prognostic frames included solidarity and gun control. Participation in online and offline protest was used as a motivational frame. All of the frame alignment processes were detected although bridging and amplification occurred more frequently than extension and transformation. The author concluded that the core framing and alignment processes provide an efficacious theoretical framework for understanding how online content creators use strategic messaging to engage and motivate followers as well as broaden their base of support. Future research should continue to explore the use of framing on social media communication as a key strategy for grassroots activist public relations.