Gonzaba – Question 2
2What particular opportunities and challenges do social-protest archives face?
Doctoral Candidate – George Mason University Creator – Trump Protest Archive
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The hyperpolarization of the current American electorate is widely seen as detrimental to the national interest, but it has also led to an impassioned and civically engaged citizenry. Excited and determined protestors crafted creative messages across signs, hats, and shirts that displayed their wide array of grievances about one of the most contentious elections in modern American history. Protestors walking down DC’s Constitution Avenue during the Women’s March snapped thousands of pictures of signs on their cell phones in an effort to remember their favorite punch lines in a never-ending sea of creative poster boards. Many inevitably uploaded these to their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts, to be shared and retweeted by their numerous friends and followers.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 For social-protest archives, the excitement of protestors to make themselves part of the historical record allows for pretty welcoming responses when soliciting materials. Since most of the photographs on the site come from cameras on cell phones—usually the same apparatus on which contributors browse their social media accounts—the digital archive benefits from targeting its solicitation to users on the same day that they enthusiastically participate in protest events. Thus, the Trump Protest Archive allows contributors to upload content within a time frame quite close to their participation in a protest, using the very same equipment they used to document their experiences. While this seemingly opens the door between contributors and content creation, a major challenge develops on the site administrator’s side. An administrator must carefully curate every uploaded photograph and fill in the gaps when contributors either mistakenly omit or include messy metadata.