The Water Movement : waves in media
Wong, Samantha Wai Sum
May 20, 2020
In 2019, Hong Kongers entered a battle against the Hong Kong and Chinese government for their democratic rights. I interviewed Hong Kongers living in Hong Kong or abroad to investigate how they interacted with social media during the current social movement. I further explored how their location may affect their collective identity, as well as their participation in the Water Movement, online and offline. All of my interviewees physically joined at least one movement-related event in Hong Kong. However, due to geographic location, my participants residing outside of Hong Kong did not have the opportunity to attend events as actively as those living in Hong Kong. This difference led to varying perceptions of their roles in the movement, as my interviewees abroad felt that they were not at the core of the movement despite similar levels of engagement as those in Hong Kong. Location did not seem to play a factor into how my participants engaged with virtual platforms as those living in Hong Kong and abroad utilized social media similarly as a tool for mobilization, information sharing, political expression, raising awareness, and news consumption. Studying social media during a time of social unrest shows how a controversial situation may be viewed through the perspective of its community members. Furthermore, investigating how geographic location influences collective identity, as well as virtual and physical participation, sheds light on how social movements may impact community members living outside of that community.
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