Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Nancy Neiman Auerbach

Reader 2

T. Kim-Trang Tran

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Jesse Janice Klekamp


This analysis seeks to understand the power of social media to create sustainable social movements. The 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle were one of the first internet-supported acts of protest and illustrate the power of the Internet and social media to bring together diverse coalitions of actors and maintain decentralized power structures. Next, the analysis studies the non-profit advocacy organization Invisible Children and the recent media explosion of their Kony 2012 campaign to make sense of how uses of the Internet have expanded since 1999. The Kony 2012 case illustrates the power of committed networks in disseminating information but also alludes to some of the new challenges social media presents. Ultimately, this analysis concludes that social media has simultaneously empowered and crippled social media, calling for an intentioned use of the Internet applications, strong leadership, and cultural framing to sustain mobilization.