Social Media And The Sunflower Movement

Social Media And The Sunflower Movement

The Internet and social media played a crucial role in the ability of the Sunflower Movement to circulate information and strategize about isses

The Internet and social media has served as a means coalescing and focusing the energy of “activist subculture” around certain issues. In the age of the Internet, memes can serve as a means of political communication and this is no different of Taiwan, in which Facebook pages and the mes they share can serve as incubators for political discussion.

Although Twitter is not a popular social media platform in Taiwan, Taiwan has the largest Facebook penetration in the world, with a 65% penetration rate. As such, Facebook has served as a prominent platform for not only hosting political discussion, but linking together youth activists no matter where they might be geographically located in Taiwan.

Likewise, the Reddit-like message board PTT also serves as a means of discussing political events, offering a degree of anonymity lacking in Facebook. Accordingly, many of the major events of the Sunflower Movement were, in fact, coordinated on PTT. Buses for transportation to Taipei (台北) to participate in actions was, for example, coordinated by PTT.

Platforms for social media use in Taiwan include Twitter, Plurk, BBS, Ustream, WordPress, Blogger, Google Groups, Hackpad, Hackfoldr, HEMiDEMi, and Plurk. QR codes also became popular during the Sunflower Movement as a way of sharing links which led to social media accounts. Notably, the development of social media as a crucial part of global society took place in the same timeframe of the development of activist civil society after the Wild Strawberry Movement in 2008. A team at Academia Sinica later set about preserving the digital archives of key websites used during the Sunflower Movement, which is a currently ongoing project and can be seen below.


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Photo credit: Sunflower Movement 太陽花學運/Facebook