Identity-Based Roles in Rhizomatic Social Justice Movements on Twitter
Contemporary social justice movements can be understood as rhizomatic, growing laterally without a central structure. In this mixed methods study, we investigated the roles that activists develop based on their personal and professional identities and carry with them through the dynamic landscape of rhizomatic social justice movements on Twitter. We conducted interviews with self-identified social justice activists and analyzed seven weeks of their Twitter timeline and retweets. We found three activist roles–organizer, storyteller and advocate–and described the identities, approaches to activism, behaviors on Twitter, and the relationship to social justice movements for each role. We used these roles as a lens to better understand how movement identities are constructed, laid out an agenda for future research on roles in rhizomatic social justice movements and suggested design directions.