Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Fridays for Future and Mondays for Memes: How Climate Crisis Memes Mobilize Social Media Users

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Abstract:  Modern protest movements rely on digital activism on social media, which serves as a conduit for mobilization. In the social media landscape, internet memes have emerged as a popular practice of expressing political protest. Although it is known that social media facilitates mobilization, researchers have neglected how distinct types of content affect mobilization. Moreover, research regarding users’ perspectives on mobilization through memes is lacking. To close these research gaps, this study investigates memes in the context of climate protest mobilization. Based on the four-step model of mobilization, a survey of users who create and share memes related to the Fridays for Future movement on social media (N = 325) revealed that the prosumption of climate crisis memes increases users’ issue involvement and strengthens their online networks. These factors serve as crucial mediators in the relationship between users’ prosumption of climate crisis memes and political participation. The results suggest that mobilization through memes is effective at raising awareness of political issues and strengthening online discussion networks, which means that it has strategic potential for protest movements. By looking at memes from the perspective of their creators and examining a specific type of social media content, this study contributes to the literature on digital mobilization.

Keywords:  activism; climate crisis; Fridays for Future; internet memes; mobilization; political participation; prosumption; protest movements; social media

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i3.6658


© Michael Johann, Lukas Höhnle, Jana Dombrowski. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.