A talk on the Gezi park protest of 2013 as a case study to elucidate how social media, and more specifically Twitter, has emerged as a signifier of contemporary protest.
This talk uses the Gezi park protest of 2013 as a case study to elucidate how social media, and more specifically Twitter, has emerged as a signifier of contemporary protest. The importance of social media for contemporary protest movements is something that has by now been written about extensively. In previous research, the main emphasis has been given to the functionality of social media primarily as a means of information sharing and a tool for protest organisation. This paper seeks to redress this by directing our attention to the role of visual communication and how social media is symbolically implied in the protestors’ self image. Thus the paper focuses on how social media as a cultural signifier or symbol is employed both by protestors and the authorities seeking to rebuke the movement. The paper looks at how in the case of the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey, social media is rhetorically evoked by both protestors (as the platform for freedom of expression) and the government (as a menace to the state). It also explores how social media becomes a symbolic part of the protest movement by visualising the possibility of imagining the movement as a decentralized networked digital mass; and finally discusses how Gezi activists appropriated the Twitter logo bird in visual representations of the movement.
Journal Article - 2018
Monograph - 2018