Authors: Temple Uwalaka, Jerry Watkins
Abstract: Social media platforms continue to flourish and evolve as the use and practices surrounding them constantly change. These platforms have become deeply embedded in some cultures and in others, their use is relatively underutilized. In order to further understand the importance of the use of social media in digital activism, this study examines how the protest was framed in social media platforms, and the role that social media played in holding mainstream media accountable during the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protest. To evaluate this, we analyzed contents from protesters’ Facebook Groups, Twitter feeds of the Occupy Nigeria protests and Nairaland, and interview responses from 19 students, attending the University of Lagos, Lagos State and Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria who participated in the protest. The results indicate that the protest was defined by protesters on social media platforms as a revolution while advocating that the policy to end the fuel subsidy by the government be abolished as the solution for them to end the protest. What was uncovered is that the local mainstream media refused to cover the protest at its inception until they were forced to do so by the protesters, and this perceived inaction of the local mainstream media became sources of motivation for some of the participants to participate in the protest.
Keywords: Social Media,Occupy Nigeria, Digital Activism, Citizen Journalism