Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Patricia Strach

Committee Member

Annette Richie


The Internet is relatively new and constantly changing, which makes it hard for political organizations and activist groups to know how to mobilize via this medium. Online activism is the process of using the Internet to communicate, spread information, and organize traditional activism (Martin 2007); People who use this form of activism are usually thought of as only showing token support for a cause without being willing to engage in more meaningful support (St Louis 2014). In this paper, I will analyze under what circumstances online activism is effective. To answer this question, I must first determine who online activism is effective for, what issues it is effective for, and what time period it is effective for. I collected my information by searching the Internet, primarily using Google and Google Scholar, for what literature existed within the topic of online activism, and then sorted my findings into two categories: opinion-based and evidence-based. I decided to analyze these two different types of sources, opinion-based and experiment-based, as together they would provide a more all-encompassing understanding of online activism. Through my analysis, I found that activism is most effective for young people as well as women. There is a belief that individuals who engage in online activism are looking for an easy way out, however, I found that young people’s preferences and skills are more in line with digital action so that is why they turn to it. Additionally, online activism is most effective in realizing short-term goals within a cause. This form of activism is highly effective at bringing attention to an issue as well as raising funds. Since the Internet is fast-paced, online support is quick to die out so online activism works best for quick, short-term campaigns. This understanding of who online activism is effective for as well as what goals and time period it is most effective for has important consequences for how political and activist groups structure their campaigns. Depending on who they are trying to engage and what goals they may have, these groups will have to present their mission in different ways.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.