Examining the role of social media and mobile social networking applications in socio-political contestations in Nigeria

Temple Uwalaka, Bigman Nwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social media platforms continue to flourish as practices encompassing them become deeply embedded in many cultures. As more people embrace social media platforms, their affordances and opportunities are leading to improved communication, and helping hold authorities to account. To further scrutinize the importance of these platforms, this study interrogates the role of digital media in socio-political contestations in Nigeria by examining the media used to mobilize, coordinate, and document the 2020 #EndSARS protests in Nigeria. Analyses of survey data collected in 2020 during the protests in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria (N = 391) show that demonstrators who were 30 years and older and used WhatsApp and Facebook to learn about the protests as well as coordinate their participation in the protests are more likely to report participating on the first day of the protests than protesters who are younger than 30 and used other media platforms. Findings further illustrate that digital enthusiasm facilitated by hedonic-experiential and epicurean communication on WhatsApp and Facebook eventuated a process of emotional contagion through connective repertoires that created propitious emotional conditions for mass collective protest actions. Finally, the article discusses how the use of WhatsApp and Facebook gave protesters strategic communicative power during the protests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-190
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication and the Public
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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