Identity-Based Roles in Rhizomatic Social Justice Movements on Twitter


  • Judeth Oden Choi Carnegie Mellon University
  • James Herbsleb Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jessica Hammer Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jodi Forlizzi Carnegie Mellon University



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.




How to Cite

Oden Choi, J., Herbsleb, J., Hammer, J., & Forlizzi, J. (2020). Identity-Based Roles in Rhizomatic Social Justice Movements on Twitter. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 14(1), 488-498.