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Keywords:

  • participation;
  • social media;
  • climate change;
  • YouTube;
  • frames;
  • social problems

Abstract

This paper offers a framework for examining the relationship between social, instrumental, and technological determinants of participation through social media (Dahlberg, 2004) using a discursive approach based in the concepts of frames and framing (Goffman, 1974; Snow & Benford, 1992). We apply our multideterminant framework to investigate participatory dynamics on YouTube in the case of climategate. Our interpretive analysis of videos and comments shows how public responses to climategate were scripted around 3 dominant master frames, reinforced by calls to collective action and media form. Our multideterminant framework makes a contribution to the debate over the transformative potential of social media by providing a method to assess the relative value of social media in response to specific social problems.