Normalizing Community Structure’s Restraint on Critical Tweets About a Polluting Industry

Brendan R. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is an ongoing debate as to whether the Internet broadly, and social media specifically, has radicalized or normalized existing patterns of participation in discussions of public affairs. Previous studies of traditional media's coverage of polluting industries have found media in less structurally pluralistic, more economically dependent communities are less likely to be critical in their coverage of industrial pollution. This study examines whether or not the influence of local community structure was normalized in Gulf Coast Twitter users' tweets about the 2010 BP oil spill. While it has been suggested that the Internet “overrides” the influences of local geography, like journalists, the producers of online content still live and work in local geographic communities. Thus, this study examines whether Twitter users in less pluralistic, more economically dependent communities are less critical of BP and its response to the crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-600
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

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