Social Media Framing Within the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice

This article by Professor of Public Relations Linda Hon originally appeared in the Institute of Public Relations on Jan. 12, 2016.

Hallahan’s (1999) overview of framing and its applications laid the groundwork for how seven models of framing could be applied to public relations. One of these models was framing of issues, and Hallahan pointed out how this perspective could be applied to the public relations strategies and tactics of activist campaigns and social movements. Since Hallahan’s work was published, digital media, particularly social media, complement and extend traditional public relations efforts related to activism and social movements.

The purpose of this research is to apply framing theory to the social media communication of a particular activist organization, Million Hoodies. Examined here is how the activist group used social media to frame issues related to injustice and racism toward African-Americans and mobilized a large base of supporters. Million Hoodies includes more than 50,000 members and college chapters across the United States.

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