Digital Traces of “Twitter Revolutions”: Resistance, Polarization, and Surveillance via Contested Images and Texts of Occupy Gezi
Protest movements have been galvanized recently by social media and are commonly, and somewhat hyperbolically, referred to by mainstream media as “Twitter revolutions.” This article identifies social media as a battleground for disseminating contending versions of reality, not only during Twitter revolutions, but also in their aftermath. Articulating the enduring impact of popular social movements and examining how protestors and governmental supporters contest their meaning over time, the article studies the digital traces of the Gezi Park protests in Turkey (2013) after the mobilization dissipated. The digital traces of protests act as critical digital artifacts of contestation with actors on both sides (pro- and anti-AKP [Justice and Development Party] government in Turkey). These digital traces are reanimated by both actors to build support, assert truth claims, foster identity/community, and/or demand recognition. The article deploys content and multimodal analyses of texts and images on Twitter, shared through hashtags on the protests when the protests’ alleged leaders faced trials (2018‒2019).