Curating Virality: Exploring Curated Logics Within #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter/X

Yiran Duan, Jeff Hemsley, Alexander O. Smith, Una Joh, LaVerne Gray, Christy Khoury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines what types of messages users posted and spread about #Black/Blue/AllLivesMatter during the Black History Month of 2022. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, about one million tweets were analyzed to test if different levels of opinion leaders tend to spread different kinds of messages related to the context. Using the curation logic of Thorson and Well and Lakoff’s semantic theory as theoretical lenses, we offer some observations about the differences in logics (incentives and norms) that opinion leaders in our dataset might face. We find that different levels of opinion leaders shared different types of messages. The implications of this study call for strategies that foster meaningful discussions on social movements amid polarized views. The study also advocates for refining platform design to encourage the dissemination of factual information over contentious arguments and reaching a societal consensus on critical social issues, such as racial inequality and police brutality. This research contributes to updating the theory of curation logics, virality, and opinion leaders, as well as provides empirical data for the discussions of the #BlackLivesMatter social movement and its related discussions of #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


  • BlackLivesMatter
  • curated flows
  • opinion leaders
  • semantic theory
  • virality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications


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