Today, social movements are more prevalent than ever. Individuals use multiple social media platforms to organize their voices, which turn into political actions. In some ways, these online social movements are more powerful than face-to-face interactions. Where society once primarily judged the sociopolitical movement actions by counting the number of individuals who participate in on-the-ground face-to-face public demonstrations, we have now added and often primarily judge impact through a binomial digital representation of zeros and ones through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and other web-based platforms.
Often omitted in the literature are the voices of indigenous groups, such as Native Americans’ political engagement and social movements, whether online or offline. The Internet has afforded an opportunity to hear, document, and understand a much marginalized population of Native American voices through various social media networks. This paper documents the engaging and connective actions of Native American advocates and social movements through Twitter, a social media site.
The authors provide a theoretical framework documenting connective action through an interdisciplinary lens, with a focus on Native American political content, network, and bandwidth characteristics of Native American advocates and their sub-communities. Vigil-Hayes et al. provide a brief literature review of prior studies focused on grassroots political and social movement organizations. This brief literature review is important because it delivers background information about the progression or lack of progression involving tribal groups’ use of information communication technologies (ICT). This discussion engages and prompts the reader to reflect and recognize various social inequalities that persist specifically among indigenous populations in the US.
The use of the metaphor described in the paper--“connective tissue binding multiple political action environments”--is very strong. The reader becomes engaged immediately as she considers the strength of connective tissues that are bound as the principle approaches of the authors’ discussion of the affordances of the Internet, which link together individuals with a focus on a social justice action.
The authors afford insight into data curation of each group and subgroup of Twitter hashtags using a post-structural mixed method to provide identification of social media content, content and quantitative analysis generated from Native American advocates and their Native American sub-communities. A thorough and very detailed presentation of the methods enables the reader to easily replicate the study.
The discussion and conclusion offer readers a very clear picture of the social and technological inequality among Native American populations. At least one area of clarity that I took away from reviewing this paper is the importance of life, death, and family to the Native American community and the need to provide low-bandwidth content, such as photos instead of heavy latent media files, to enhance communication among Native American advocacy groups and their followers over Twitter’s social media platform.