The Writing Is on the Wall, or Is It? Exploring Indian Activists’ Beliefs About Online Social Media’s Potential for Social Change

Monica Chadha, Summer Harlow


This study examined how activists in India, the world’s largest democracy, perceived online social networking sites’ potential to bring about social change in a country with a large digital divide and a partially free press. Analysis of closed and open-ended survey responses indicated activists were positive about using SNS in their work, believing SNS helped transcend geographic and temporal borders and reach out to wider audiences. Despite the digital divide, they did not view lack of Internet access or technical skills as a major challenge to using SNS for activism. Overall, Indian activists said that a social movement needs to use both online and off-line activism tools together to reach its full potential.


activist, social media, social network site, India, digital divide, press freedom

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