Social media activism and movement scene at Hong Kong’s Occupy Headquarters

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Drawing on the Hong Kong case of Occupy Headquarters between 30 August and 8 September 2012, this chapter examines how public support was engendered through the movement’s social media activities. It aims to enhance our understanding of how various forms of public engagement manifested in the current networked environments in response to the student protest. Although much research tends to focus on the technical affordances of digital media in social movements, this chapter invokes the concept of ‘movement scene’ to analyze the cultural and experimental dimensions of social media use underpinning the public’s self-joining efforts and discusses their impact on the student protest. As revealed in the analysis, the clusters of social media activities that characterized the public’s networked activism can be seen as joint practices of scene making, with digitally enabled individuals and groups involved in creative and networked forms of countercultural support of Occupy Headquarters. In turn, the co-creation of movement scenes provided frames of reference and movement structures for wider public engagement and sparked a series of popular protests that ignited a citywide campaign for the movement in Hong Kong.

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... First, owing to growing communicative mobility and strong Wi-Fi connectivity in the city, contemporary moblogging allows users to upload multimedia content in the form of original posts or follow-up comments in real time while using urban transportation or engaging in quotidian activities (Owigar & Chepken, 2008). Second, visual narrativity has taken on a more significant role in reporting an ad hoc situation and presenting a spontaneous experience to a community on SNSs (Ting, 2021). Recent studies have helped illustrate how the pervasive adoption of mobile devices and social media afford otherwise dispersed individuals to converge quickly and develop social ties across temporal and spatial boundaries. ...
Using digital ethnography to examine the daily mobile (micro)blogging (moblogging) practices of local residents as they confronted a wave of inbound shopping tourists in pre-Covid-19 pandemic Hong Kong, this article explores how the latest mode of mundane citizenship emerges from the communicative mobility of urban dwellers equipped with mobile phones and social media applications (apps). Recent research on the role of mobile devices and social media apps in citizen participation has focused on more visible forms of civic-political events, such as protests and voting, and tended to neglect the effects of mobile communication performed during banal travel and quotidian activities. This article offers an alternative reading of the relevance of mobile social media (MSM) in contemporary public lives by examining how they open up new temporalities and spatialities for counter-public engagement in the contexts of mundane urban mobility. The findings demonstrate various moblogging practices that entail modalities of counter-public engagement that traverse the personal, proto-political, and communal, and reveal how local residents used these modalities to articulate alternative public agendas, connect acts of consumer activism, and perform communal belonging vis-à-vis inbound shopping tourism amid their daily routines and modest journeys. Focusing on mobile socialities enabled by smartphones and networking apps, this article explicates how contemporary moblogging can, on the one hand, extend people's capacity to engage in citizen talk and connective action, while on the other hand, allow them to flexibly connect and contribute personal photobiographies and narratives to counter-public communities. By unpacking the novel pathways to citizen participation, it offers insights into new ways in which everyday mobile communication can be transformed into public involvement, albeit often in agonistic and emotional forms, and the role of MSM in this process.
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