The Role of Social Media in the Mobilization of Social Movement in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


As social media has become a ubiquitous part of our daily life, questions remained to be answered by scholars who study social movements and new communication technologies. This thesis explored the role of social media in the mobilizations of social movements. To achieve this goal, the study set out to investigate the following specific objectives: explaining the factors which increase social media usage in social movement, describing the importance of social media in organizing social movement, describing how the content created on social media causes social movements, understanding techniques activists use to mobilize citizens for social movement, examining the effectiveness of social media as a tool for communication and community mobilization and to pin point the opportunities and challenges of social media as a social movement mobilization tool. A qualitative approach was employed to collect and analyze the data needed to address the aforementioned objectives. Accordingly, key informant interviews were conducted with 10 elites. Among which four were activists, two were journalists, and the rest four were government officials and political party leaders. Content analysis and semistructured interview were also employed for triangulation. This study was premised by the assumption of Antonio Gramsci‘s theory which assumed that the mass can put revolutionary ideology into practice generated from social elites and intellectuals, mainly through social media. The study found that the development of social media in Ethiopia is very fast and in short period of time it showed a lot of progress. It also uncovered regarding social media the motive of the government is mainly collecting revenue by giving a telecom services and currently, there is no policy framework in line with social media usage in Ethiopia. Hence, the government better install policy framework. This study also revealed that the contents created on social media facilitate social movements since they are emotion triggering. Finally, this study uncovered, social movements are not created by a single cause but rather by a set of grounds that are interrelated. From among the several factors causing social movement, the system role failure and feeling of relative discrimination from opportunities and resources in contrast to others are supposed as the headlines. On one hand, the system wellbeing gaps are also underlying conditions that favor social movement by creating individual grievances.



The Role of Social Media in the Mobilization of Social Movement in Ethiopia