Ph.D. Thesis Proposal: Thomas N. Smyth

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Wednesday April 4, 2012 - Thursday April 5, 2012
      1:00 pm - 2:59 pm
  • Location: TSRB 223
  • Phone:
  • URL:
  • Email:
  • Fee(s):
  • Extras:

Thomas N. Smyth


Summary Sentence: From Access to Activism: Social Media and Political Engagement in West Africa

Full Summary: No summary paragraph submitted.

Title: From Access to Activism: Social Media and Political Engagement in West Africa

Thomas N. Smyth
School of Interactive Computing
College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology

Date: April 4th (WED), 2012
Time: 9:00am - 11:00am (EST)
Location: TSRB 223


  • Michael L. Best (Advisor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Rebecca E. Grinter (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Ellen W. Zegura (School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Eric Gilbert (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Ethan Zuckerman (Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Today is an exciting time to be an activist in sub-Saharan Africa, not least because of the proliferation of social media technology across the continent and the concomitant adoption of that technology for political ends. In this proposal I outline a research program to describe, understand, and contribute to this phenomenon. I divide the area of interest into four stages of engagement, from the establishment of access, to the employ of social media tools for vigilance and discourse, to the transition to physical-world association with fellow citizens. At each stage I engage in design exercises and empirical studies that both develop my understanding as well as, in some cases, contribute to the cause at hand. These works focus on two African nations—Nigeria and Liberia—and include the design and study of a purpose-built social media platform in post-conflict Liberia, the construction and deployment of a social media aggregation tool during a Nigerian election, a study comparing formal and social media-based election monitoring strategies (citizen election monitoring being a prominent form of social media-based activism in the region), and case studies of two techno-savvy political groups, one from each country. At the conclusion of the work I propose to create a Social Media for Activists Mobile Handbook, bearing social media-oriented recommendations for activists in the region, as a synthesis of my work.

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

College of Computing, School of Interactive Computing

Invited Audience
No audiences were selected.
No categories were selected.
No keywords were submitted.
  • Created By: Jupiter
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Apr 2, 2012 - 5:20am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 9:58pm