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Critique Essay History Humanities Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences

Youth collective political expression on social media: The role of affordances and memetic dimensions for voicing political views

By Ioana Literat and Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, 2019

Social media are recognized as important outlets for youth political expression, yet the affordances of different platforms may shape the forms and styles of expression that young people deploy. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the ways social media affordances shape youth voice, this article examines young people’s political expression on the popular app musical.ly in the context of the 2016 US presidential election. Employing quantitative and qualitative content analysis on 1651 youth-created videos, we examine how young people use platform affordances, political hashtags, and memetic dimensions to convey a range of expressive political practices. In particular, through the analysis of content, form, and stance, our research illuminates how social media afford collective political expression for youth, by allowing them to deliberately connect to an assumed like-minded audience with similar beliefs through the use of shared symbolic resources. Keywords Affordances, hashtags, memes, political expression, social media, youth

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