Computer-mediated communication and protest: An examination of social movement activities at gallaudet, a university for the Deaf

Carol S. Lomicky, Nanette M. Hogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This case study analyzed quantitative and qualitative data to examine the role of computer-mediated communication (CMC) during social movement activities in 2006 at a university for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. We applied Garrett's frame-work and focussed on aspects of the mobilizing structures component of social activism, which involves the mechanism that enables people to organize and engage in collective action. Employing a snowball sampling method, we report the data provided by 540 CMC users who said they were in some way engaged in the university conflict. These findings reinforce the escalating role of CMC in activism with the respondents using, trusting, and depending most on CMC for information about the conflict. Moreover, blogging was at the forefront of the subjects' communication activities. Subjects depended on blogs more than any other CMC activity to communicate about the conflict, and they said they trusted blogs more than any other source of information. Blogs and vlogs frequently were cited as contributing to a sense of collective identity throughout the conflict. Blogging also emerged as a communication tool important to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing subjects. The findings support the decline of traditional media in terms of use and trust for conflict information, although respondents reported that interpersonal communication was important to them as information about the conflict was being exchanged. This study suggests that private CMC is impinging on face-to-face interaction, and public CMC increasingly is encroaching on the public square.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-695
Number of pages22
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Blogs
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Deaf
  • Mass media
  • Social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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