Feeling activism: Emotionalized and visual-based strategic communication within environmental small-scale activism on social media
Sammanfattning: This master thesis aims to understand whether the connection of visuals and emotions on social media can be utilized by activists to increase awareness of environmental issues. In particular, this thesis discussed if emotional visual content about environmental activism on social media increases recipients' emotional awareness and small-scale activism when embedded in visual framing communication. The work is based on theories like affective visual framing, affective intensity, stickiness and grab, which define the dynamics of emotions online and the merits that come with it, when used for strategic communication. In combination with visual communication on social media and the emotional impact of visuals, environmental imagery develops power for social transformation. Analyzing the organization Greenpeace and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for their emotional strategic communication on Instagram, the research uses mixed-methods to gather data about the reception of emotional visuals. A questionnaire collects data about broad responses to images and seven in-depth interviews focus on deeper motivations and opinions behind the emotional reaction. The research reveals that first of all emotions are generated by emotionally framed visual contents. These emotions also lead to an emotional awareness of environmental issues. Nevertheless, small-scale activism was neither increased by emotional content nor by general emotional awareness. Solely short-term interest in activism could be identified.
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