Seeing Red: social media and football fan activism

Monaghan, Frank (2014). Seeing Red: social media and football fan activism. In: Seargeant, Philip and Tagg, Caroline eds. The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet. London: Palgrave, pp. 228–254.

Abstract

This chapter explores the role social media play in allowing political activists to come together around a shared real-world goal. Since the mid-1980s, technologies such as email, mobile phones, and interactive websites such as Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, have transformed the means and opportunities for activists to employ social media in order to ‘communicate, collaborate and demonstrate’ (Garrett, 2004, p. 202). Key factors in this include: the relatively low cost of online communication, which enables a typically resource-poor and therefore power-less resistance to organize against a resource-rich and therefore powerful opposition (Bonchek, 1995); the promotion of a collective identity across a dispersed population that activists can then mobilize in pursuit of interests perceived as core to that identity (Brainard & Siplon, 2000); and the creation of communities that foster issue-based communication and thus strengthen participants’ identification with the movement (Diani, 2000). Far from producing a generation of bedroom- bound isolates, social media in these cases appear to be bringing people together both virtually and physically in pursuit of comm interests and causes. It is the space between the social and the media that underpins this chapter which focuses on Liverpool Football Club fans' campaign to oust the then club owners and their use of social media as an integral and integrated part of their activities.

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