HomeAni: Letran Calamba Research Reportvol. 18 no. 1 (2022)

Tweets to Streets: Twitter as a Communication Tool to Engage in Political Activities

Beatrix S. Adorna | Abegail M. Dela Cruz | Cierylene A. Florento



Philippines has a notable history of activism, and currently, there is a variety of social networking sites that activists can use to spread information and call for mass support. One of them is Twitter. The researchers focused on the Laguna-based millennials’ usage of Twitter to engage in political activities. Particularly, this qualitative research aimed to: 1) determine the millennials’ view of Twitter as a social networking site; 2) identify the reasons of using Twitter in political activity; and 3) describe the experience of the millennial protesters in using Twitter. The participants for the study were millennials, who attended the September 21, 2017 Luneta Rally and tweeted about it in their Twitter accounts. The primary data gathering instruments were the researchers themselves. The researchers used Uses and Gratifications Theory by Blumler, Gurevitch, and Katz (1974) and thematic analysis to make sense of the data gathered through individual in-depth interviews. From the interviews, the researchers deduced that Twitter, as a social networking site, was seen as a platform to express one’s self, a platform to connect, a platform for leisure, a platform to inform and get informed, and a snappy platform. The millennials used Twitter for political activity because, as an avenue for political discourse, they feel comfortable and safe, and it became easier for them to inform others; information sharing and interaction in Twitter was better for them in terms of speed and reach; aside from less trolls, seeking and sharing news is faster; and it has been part of their practice. During the Luneta Rally, the millennial protesters interviewed had a motivational, informative, uneasy and agitating, and obligatory experience. As a social networking site, Twitter gratified particular needs by the millennial protesters that is less likely to be fulfilled by other social media. They have various ways of seeing Twitter as a social networking site and different purposes for using it to engage in political activities. But while their reasons for using Twitter differ, themes on why the millennials use Twitter in political activities surfaced: a means to implement their process, a system’s practice, and a value for anonymity. It is recommended that future researchers should conduct a similar study with more participants in the older group of millennials and from the country’s key cities. This study also recommended that millennial protesters, influential Twitter users, advocates of various groups, and organizers of collective actions aid them in understanding the millennials’ usage of Twitter in relation to politics at present.