Public attention, social media, and the Edward Snowden saga


  • Yong Jin Park Howard University
  • S. Mo Jang University of South Carolina



social media attention, government surveillance and privacy, civil rights issues


Although prior research indicated the power of social media in drawing attention to particular issues, little research explored precise patterns by which an issue sustains its salience in mediated social platforms. We dissected the issue-attention cycle of Snowden revelations over a one-year period. We tackled this, using real-time large-scale Twitter data, and found that social media attention varied dramatically over time by the specificities of issue. Volumes of attention associated with — instead of being independent from — traditional media mention of the issues. Directions for future studies as well as implications for using social media for civil rights issues are addressed.

Author Biographies

Yong Jin Park, Howard University

Professor, Department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communication at the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Howard University

S. Mo Jang, University of South Carolina

Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, U of South Carolina




How to Cite

Park, Y. J., & Jang, S. M. (2017). Public attention, social media, and the Edward Snowden saga. First Monday, 22(8).