Short Video as a Weapon: Strategies and Dissemination of Social Mobilization on Douyin

Gao, Tianyi, Media, Culture, and Technology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Driscoll, Kevin, Media Studies, University of Virginia

This thesis applies Thomas Harding's concept of video activism and focuses on the videos using the hashtag #EscapeFromTheBritishMuseum on the Douyin platform, exploring the use of short videos as tools of video activism in social mobilization. The short drama Escape from the British Museum was selected as a case study to empirically research how short videos mobilize public participation in cultural preservation movements. The thesis is divided into three main parts: first, it analyzes how strategies such as ritual of communication, identity by antithesis, metaphorical rhetoric, and collective memory are used in the short drama to facilitate social mobilization; second, it describes the data collection and coding processes; finally, through a content analysis of video content, auditory and visual elements, emotions, and dissemination effects, the mechanisms by which short videos stimulate public emotions and actions are revealed. The result of the content analysis highlights different types of background music aligning with the emotions conveyed in the videos, where inspirational music typically enhances positive emotions, and sad music intensifies negative ones. The study further notes that the duration of videos is carefully tailored to their thematic needs. Influencers contribute to the campaign's reach and impact in this social mobilization. The case of Escape from the British Museum sparked extensive social discussion and underscored the significant research value of video activism in addressing broader societal issues. Future research could expand on this foundation, exploring video activism's impact on more common societal concerns.

MA (Master of Arts)
Video Activism, Social Mobilization, Douyin, Short Video
Issued Date: