Networking #Ferguson: An Ethnographic Study of Ferguson Protesters’ Online-Offline Community Mobilization


  • Doug Tewksbury


Ferguson, Social Media, Community Building, Mobilization, Ethnography


This paper presents the results of a qualitative, ethnographic study of participants in the 2014 Ferguson protest, exploring the intersection of the movement’s online, social and mobile media uses and its offline community-building and mobilization. For Ferguson protesters, it was participatory, online media—social and mobile media, in particular—that greatly strengthened the offline practices of solidarity, community, and togetherness through the act of sharing. As with other contemporary technology-embedded social movements, the Ferguson protests suggest new evidence that these types of movements continue to serve as a laboratory for emerging democratic practices, one with new online, mobile tools used in spaces that intersect with offline efforts, such as boots-on-the-ground organization, strategy development and community mobilization.

Author Biography

Doug Tewksbury

Doug Tewksbury is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Niagara University.