2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Saturday, July 29 • 11:01 - 12:30
Battlefront Volunteers: Mapping And Deconstructing Platform-Enabled Civilian Resilience Networks In Ukraine [FULL]

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Author: Olga Boichak

Abstract: The highly mediated nature of social reality causes unprecedented reliance on digital tools and platforms to handle impending crises. Human connections, forged in the process of computer-mediated interaction, lie at the core of the civilian resilience networks that operate in the wartime. The 2014 annexation of Crimea, along with the subsequent developments in eastern Ukraine, marked the beginning of the battlefront volunteer movement – an array of civilian initiatives, aimed at supporting the Ukrainian military. Using Facebook to construct elaborate social infrastructures, battlefront volunteers leveraged social media to muster physical and technological resources and help the army soldiers protect the state from an impending military threat. Apart from a growing body of social movement literature, evidence on mediated ways of civilian participation in military conflicts remains inconclusive. This paper presents a theoretical enquiry into the sociomaterial practices of the battlefront volunteer groups. Drawing upon network analysis and a set of in-depth interviews with the users involved in these initiatives, I map and deconstruct the civilian resilience networks, illuminating the role and use of Facebook in the creation of social infrastructures by battlefront volunteers.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30 EDT
TRS 1-147 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9