Occupy Wall street: exploring informal learning about a social movement on twitter

Essay by n1ghtingaleCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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#Occupy Wall Street: Exploring Informal Learning About a Social Movement on Twitter

Sam Valentine



Soc 111-04

Stan Yu & John Dickinson

Feb 25th, 2014

This critical review discusses a study suggesting that Twitter can support an individual's informal, constructivist learning process. The Article argues that mass social media, particularly the blog twitter can impart mass social change amongst a particular group, this case being the Occupy Wall Street movement. The article seeks to understand ways in which the general public can learn about a particular current event and even voice their own opinions through a decentralized blog. The methods of research used to try and help examine the existence that "informal learning about a social movement is associated with participation in the movement" (966). The study suggests that there are many opportunities for participation in the movement, which enable learners to become a more engaged proactive part of the process.

While Gleason's study can be argued as being to micro, he presents a well-organized article and backs up his arguments with valid research and facts.

In the article Gleason's main argument is that one can learn about the Occupy Wall Street movement informally through the use of the #OWS hashtag. The article attempted to explain three central research questions: What percentage of #OWS tweets contains hyperlinks, if #OWS contained multiple perspectives and how those would be categorized, and finally what the informal learning process was like. To conduct the research the author used a mixed methods approach involving a qualitative inductive model of category development, implementing descriptive statistics, content analysis, and a case study.

The first research question involving hyperlinks was conducted using a sample and the results were presented using descriptive statistics. Two sets of data were recorded; the first was conducted during a fifteen-minute period...