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  • #Ferguson: How Twitter helped empower ordinary residents

    The Christian Science Monitor - 01/24/2016

    “We hypothesized that people who got in early on who were not elites had an influence in shaping the story,” says Sarah Jackson, an assistant professor of communication who co-authored a paper looking at the Twitter networks spreading information during the first days of the Ferguson protests. It was published last month in the journal Information, Communication and Society. “They were talking about it from a perspective that acknowledges the roles police violence plays in African-American communities, and it was really not what we see in mainstream media, which is perspectives coming from the police or from elites.”

    How social media was used also played a key role. Professor Jackson and co-author Brooke Foucault Welles, also an assistant professor of communication at Northeastern, found that many users often deliberately retweeted particular messages – such as @AyoMissDarkSkin’s early reflection – that emphasized Brown’s death and the protests as related to broader concerns about police violence.

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