Monday, October 11, 2010

Practicum #2- Julia

I've taken the next step in my ethnography of how political activists use the internet by creating an online identity. I've created Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter accounts and have slowly begun to immerse myself in the online culture of Tea Party supporters. In this post, I will focus on how the activists utilize Facebook, in particular.

There are 3 major Fan Pages dedicated to the Tea Party, as far as I can see. "I AM THE TEA PARTY" has 40,000 "likes," while "The Tea Party Union" has 8,000 fans, and a third entitled "Tea Party Patriots" with a whopping 487,000 fans. These fan pages experience very heavy traffic from first glance, with an average of about 500~ comments per post! This is extremely high in comparison to most of the fan pages that I normally visit. And not only are the comments simply stating agreements or disagreements, but consist of well-thought-out arguments, nicely articulated statements, and passionate beliefs. People tend to engage in thought-provoking discussion with one another, and I assume (I could be wrong, though) that most of these individuals have never actually met.

The "info" section of the "Tea Party Patriots" site is filled with information on how fans can get involved technologically, and how they can show their support using new media. It's impossible to ignore, when looking at this page from an ethnographical perspective, the fact that this political movement would not be successful without the help of social media.

Here's a screen shot of my participation! (I won't tell you the name of my online identity...but I'm up there!)

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