The Pew Research Center released a study on Monday that analyzed online support for Black Lives Matter based on the usage of the hashtag, and others such as #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter on Twitter.
The timeline used for this research, July 5-17 of this year, included the shootings and deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, along with the five police officers in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge.
With all these controversial and emotionally traumatizing events occurring so rapidly one after the other, it was no surprise that many keyboard activists took to social media to voice their opinions.
Most interestingly, Pew notes the amount of tweets sent out using #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter "reached record heights." It goes to show two things: how rapidly social media sites are growing and developing into an outlet for advocacy, and how quick people are to politicize tragedies.
From the report:
In total, #BlackLivesMatter appeared nearly 5 million times during this time period, an average of more than 380,000 times a day following the death of Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
On July 8 [After the Dallas shooting], the hashtag #AllLivesMatter appeared almost 190,000 times, also more than six times as often as the previous most-active day – Dec. 21, 2014 – when it appeared about 28,500 times. During this 13-day period, it appeared more than 630,000 times.
The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter, which was generally used as an expression of support for police, appeared more than 415,000 times during those 13 days. On July 8 alone, the hashtag was used almost 140,000 times. The previous highest count was 23,207 times on Sept. 9, 2015.