Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Michael Z. Newman

Committee Members

Elana Levine, Richard Popp


Activism, Affective, Facebook, God, Humans of New York, Participatory


My thesis examines how fan communities on Facebook can become centres of political activism, operating through members’ affective ties to the cause and community, and networked communication. I conduct an ethnographic study of two Facebook communities—the street-photography page Humans of New York, and the page of the anonymous internet comedian who calls himself the Facebook God. Through a discursive analysis of the content of these pages and socio-political issues discussed by the members, I try demonstrate that Facebook activism can serve as an important gateway to civic engagement, through affective politics and connective action. Participatory online communities allow members to reimagine political issues in deeply personal terms, through storytelling and communal solidarity. Therefore, these spaces can become virtual classrooms for potential political activists, by redefining activism as a fun communal endeavor, and lowering the boundaries of participation.

Included in

Communication Commons