From Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, Volume 11, Issue 3-4, 2012:
Scholars and activists have hotly debated the relationship between social media and social movement activity during the current global cycle of protest. This article investigates media practices in the Occupy movement and develops the concept of social movement media cultures: the set of tools, skills, social practices and norms that movement participants deploy to create, circulate, curate and amplify movement media across all available platforms. The article posits three key areas of inquiry into social movement media cultures, and explores them through the lens of the Occupy movement: (1) What media platforms, tools and skills are used most widely by movement participants? (Practices); (2) What role do experienced practitioners play in movement media practices? (Expertise); and (3) In what ways does the movement media culture lean toward open or participatory, and in what ways toward closed or top–down? (Open/Closed). Insight into the media culture of the Occupy movement is based on mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, including semi-structured interviews, participant observation, visual research and participation in Occupy Hackathons, as well as the Occupy Research General Demographic and Political Participation Survey, a database of approximately 1200 local Occupy sites, and a dataset of more than 13 million Occupy-related tweets. The findings will be of interest to both scholars and movement participants.