Social Activism, Visual Rhetoric & Digital Media Research 📱

Social Activism, Visual Rhetoric & Digital Media Research 📱. There are exciting emergent trends in visual rhetoric (or persuasion) for digital activism in social media video. From social justice hashtagavism like #Ferguson, to corporate leadership with issues of gender and identity such as in Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video, or addressing diversity, equity and inclusion HP’s “All-American Family Portraits,” empowerment through social media video is electrifying the globe and impacting and influencing social change. 

Below, I’ve compiled of list resources and readings encapsulating the theoretical framework of social activism, visual rhetoric and digital media storytelling for social justice and social change in social media video for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Educate yourself, and bring value to your social justice campaign, but don’t go at it alone. Optimize your ability to gain awareness, plan an approach, get access, recruit allies and take action.

Watch, Work with a Social Media Consultant 🗣️ now.


Abercrombie N and Longhurst BJ (1998) Audiences: A Sociological Theory of Performance and Imagination. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Aimé C (1945) “Poésie et connaissance”(“Poetry and Knowledge”). Tropiques (12): 157–70.

Aldoory L (2005) A (re) conceived feminist paradigm for public relations: A case for substantial improvement. Journal of Communication 55(4): 668–684.

Anderson B (2006) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso books.

Aristotle (1991) On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. (G. A. Kennedy, Trans.). 2nd ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Baldwin MW and Holmes JG (1987) Salient private audiences and awareness of the self. Journal of personality and social psychology 52(6): 1087.

Banerjee S (2017) Senator Barbara Boxer — Her Reelection — Our New Climate Movement.

Bonilla Y and Rosa J (2015) #Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States. American Ethnologist 42(1): 4–17. DOI: 10.1111/amet.12112.

Bonsiepe G (1965) Visual/verbal rhetoric. Vim, 14 16: 23–40.

Bonsiepe G (2000) Design as tool for cognitive metabolism: from knowledge production to knowledge presentation. In: International Symposium on the Dimensions of Industrial Design Research, Ricerca+ Design, 2000.

Bourke J and Dillon B (2013) Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup? A new recipe to improve business performance. Deloitte.

Buchanan R (1985) Declaration by design: Rhetoric, argument, and demonstration in design practice. Design issues: 4–22.

Castells M (2011) The Rise of the Network Society. John Wiley & Sons.

Cook EC and Teasley SD (2011) Beyond promotion and protection: Creators, audiences and common ground in user-generated media. In: Proceedings of the 2011 iConference, 2011, pp. 41–47. ACM.

Cooley CH (1964) Human nature and the social order. 1902. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Crenshaw K (1990) Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stan. L. Rev. 43: 1241.

Creswell JW and Creswell JD (2018) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Fifth edition. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Demos T (2016) Between Rebel Creativity and Reification: For and Against Visual Activism. Journal of Visual Culture15(1): 85–102. DOI: 10.1177/1470412915619459.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think (6mins) (2013).

Dresselhaus A and Shrode F (2012) Mobile technologies & academics: do students use mobile technologies in their academic lives and are librarians ready to meet this challenge? Information Technology and Libraries 31(2): 82–101.

Duggan M and Brenner J (2013) The Demographics of Social Media Users, 2012. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Washington, DC.

Edwards L (2014) Power, Diversity and Public Relations. Routledge.

Edwards L and Hodges CEM (2009) Public relations, society and culture: theoretical and empirical explorations (eds.) London and New York. NY: Routledge.

Ehses HH (1984) Representing Macbeth: A case study in visual rhetoric. Design Issues: 53–63.

Eubanks V (2012) Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. MIT Press.

Ford Foundation (n.d.) Diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Fridlund AJ (1991) Sociality of solitary smiling: Potentiation by an implicit audience. Journal of personality and social psychology 60(2): 229.

Goffman E (1978) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Harmondsworth London.

Golombisky K (2015) Renewing the commitments of feminist public relations theory from velvet ghetto to social justice. Journal of Public Relations Research 27(5): 389–415.

HP (2018a) All-American Family | HP ENVY Photo. Technology.

HP (2018b) Family Portraits | HP ENVY | HP. Reinvent Mindsets.

HP (2018c) Shorty Social Good HP All American Family Portrait Supporting Materials.pdf. HP.

HP (2018d) The ‘All-American’ Family Portrait | HP® Official Site.

HP (n.d.) Diversity and Inlusion: Media | HP® Official Site.

Kaufman PB and Mohan J (2009) Video use and higher education: Options for the future. New York: Intelligent Television and Copyright Clearance Center 2.

Klein JT (2015) Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field. University of Michigan Press.

Kotler P and Zaltman G (1971) Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change. Journal of Marketing 35(3): 3–12. DOI: 10.1177/002224297103500302.

Lambert J (2013) Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. 4th ed. New York ; London: Routledge.

Litt E (2012) Knock, Knock. Who’s There? The Imagined Audience. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media56(3): 330–345. DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2012.705195.

Livingstone S (2005) On the relation between audiences and publics.

Manovich L (2013) Software Takes Command. A&C Black.

Marwick AE and boyd  danah (2011) I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New media & society 13(1): 114–133.

McKenzie-Mohr S and Lafrance MN (2017) Narrative resistance in social work research and practice: Counter-storying in the pursuit of social justice. Qualitative Social Work 16(2): 189–205. DOI: 10.1177/1473325016657866.

Mejía GM and Longo B (2017) Design and Effect of Viral Videos for Social Change. Visual Methodologies 5(2): 50–61.

Nakamura L (2008) Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. U of Minnesota Press.

Nishii LH (2013) The benefits of climate for inclusion for gender-diverse groups. Academy of Management Journal56(6): 1754–1774.

Perrin A and Anderson M (2019) Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018. In: Pew Research Center.

Pompper D (2005) ‘ Difference’ in Public Relations Research: A Case for Introducing Critical Race Theory. Journal of Public Relations Research 17(2): 139–169.

Power Lunch (2018) Brands Taking A Stand. CNBC.

Rainie L, Brenner J and Purcell K (2012) Photos and videos as social currency online. Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Salter A and Blodgett B (2012) Hypermasculinity & Dickwolves: The Contentious Role of Women in the New Gaming Public. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 56(3): 401–416. DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2012.705199.

Schlenker BR (1980) Impression management: The self-concept. Social Identity, and Interpersonal Relations (Brooks/Cole, Monterey, CA).

Sha B-L and Ford RL (2007) Redefining “requisite variety”: The challenge of multiple diversities for the future of public relations excellence. The future of excellence in public relations and communication management: Challenges for the next generation: 381–398.

Shorty Awards (2019) All American Family Portrait film by HP Inc. and Edelman – The Shorty Awards.

Sison M (2009) Whose cultural values? Exploring public relations’ approaches to understanding audiences. PRism Online Journal 6(2): 1–13.

Sison MD (2016) Diversity and inclusion in Australian public relations: towards a multiple perspectives approach. Media International Australia 160(1): 32–42.

Sison MD (2017) Communicating across, within and between, cultures: Toward inclusion and social change. Public Relations Review 43(1): 130–132. DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2016.10.015.

Smith A (2013) Smartphone ownership–2013 update. Pew Research Center: Washington DC 12: 2013.

Smith A and Anderson M (2018) Social Media Use 2018: Demographics and Statistics. In: Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech.

Smith KL, Moriarty S, Kenney K, et al. (2004) Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media. Routledge.

Tetloff M, Hitchcock L, Battista A, et al. (2014) Multimodal Composition and Social Justice: Videos as a Tool of Advocacy in Social Work Pedagogy. Journal of Technology in Human Services 32(1–2): 22–38. DOI: 10.1080/15228835.2013.857284.

Tindall NT (2009) In search of career satisfaction: African-American public relations practitioners, pigeonholing, and the workplace. Public Relations Review 35(4): 443–445.

Vardeman-Winter J (2011) Confronting whiteness in public relations campaigns and research with women. Journal of Public Relations Research 23(4): 412–441.

Webster JG and Phalen PF (1997) The Mass Audience: Rediscovering the Dominant Model. COMMUNICATION RESEARCH TRENDS 17: 46–46.

World Bank (n.d.) Social Inclusion.

Yin RK (2003) Case Study Research : Design and Methods. 3rd ed. Applied social research methods series: v. 5. Sage Publications.