Attention and counter-framing in the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 9 (367) (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The social media platform Twitter platform has played a crucial role in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The immediate, flexible nature of tweets plays a crucial role both in spreading information about the movement’s aims and in organizing individual protests. Twitter has also played an important role in the right-wing reaction to BLM, providing a means to reframe and recontextualize activists’ claims in a more sinister light. The ability to bring about social change depends on the balance of these two forces, and in particular which side can capture and maintain sustained attention. The present study examines 2 years worth of tweets about BLM (about 118 million in total). Timeseries analysis reveals that activists are better at mobilizing rapid attention, whereas right-wing accounts show a pattern of moderate but more sustained activity driven by reaction to political opponents. Topic modeling reveals differences in how different political groups talk about BLM. Most notably, the murder of George Floyd appears to have solidified a right-wing counter-framing of protests as arising from dangerous “terrorist” actors. The study thus sheds light on the complex network and rhetorical effects that drive the struggle for online attention to the BLM movement.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

What Does it Mean to Move for Black Lives?Kimberly Ann Harris - 2019 - Philosophy Today 64 (2):275-291.
Positive Propaganda and The Pragmatics of Protest.Michael Randall Barnes - 2021 - In Brandon Hogan, Michael Cholbi, Alex Madva & Benjamin S. Yost (eds.), The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 139-159.


Added to PP

165 (#105,096)

6 months
90 (#40,083)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Ritsaart Reimann
Macquarie University
Ignacio Ojea Quintana
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Marc Cheong
University of Melbourne
2 more

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery.Jim Ridolfo & Dànielle Nicole DeVoss - 2009 - Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 13 (2):n2.

Add more references