#Terrorism: Factors Shaping the Nature of Social Media Campaigns Responding to Terrorism

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Allison Mather, Class of 2017


Terrorism is a prevalent problem across the globe. While many scholars focus on counterterrorism strategies and potential causes, little research exists about the reactions of civilians to terrorist attacks. Civilians increasingly turn to digital platforms to generate social media campaigns in response to terrorism. To identify the elements of terrorist attacks that shape social media campaigns, this study assesses two cases: the Charlie Hebdo shootings on January 7, 2015, and the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015. By assessing the nature of the attacks in both cases and examining the news media and Twitter content surrounding both incidents, this study generates several hypotheses about the factors that influence civilian reactions to terrorism and the impacts of civilian-produced social media campaigns. Exploring an area that is largely untapped by scholars, this study develops suggestions for further research into the effects of civilian responses to terrorism. 


Comments from Mentors

"I have had the privilege of working with Allison Mather on her senior thesis, a creative, thoughtful and sophisticated examination of the relationship between terrorist attack and social media. Theoretically rich and empirically grounded, Alli’s project displayed her intellectual prowess and versatility, combining her high-level foreign language and humanities skills and training with complex social science approaches, quantitative methods and network analysis. The final result is a high-quality piece of scholarship that makes a real contribution to the discourse. The diligence and hard work Alli committed to the project is abundantly evident in the final product." 

--Dr. James Scott


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AddRan College of Liberal Arts