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SXSW Interactive 2014

How Social Media Created Marriage Equality

It has become a truism that social media and information technology have changed the nature of American politics. The Obama campaign, for instance, deployed sophisticated precinct lists, scoured from multiple data bases, to identify voters and increase turnout in Democratic leaning districts.
Same-sex marriage is another case in point. In little over a decade, Americans went from deeply opposed to broadly supportive, even among sub-groups of Republican voters.
Since the single bigger correlation between support for equality is knowing real gay people, activists employed social media to share personal narratives, from YouTube videos of love denied to Facebook pages devoted to normative same-sex couples.
This conversation will look at the social media methods employed by LGBT groups as well as gay individuals to begin the process of winning the hearts & minds of a nation.

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  1. How is social media changing American politics?
  2. What social media tactics did the LGBT community undertake to change public opinion in its favor on same-sex marriage?
  3. What tactics were most effective?
  4. Which social media efforts did not work?
  5. What lessons of the rapid change in public opinion on marriage equality be harnessed for other campaigns?



Chris Bull, editorial director, gaycities, inc.

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Policy and Civic Engagement
  • Level: Intermediate
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