Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library, the nation’s leading archive devoted to the history of American women, has built a massive digital archive of the #metoo movement. The Schlesinger's collection of tweets begins in 2017, when the hashtag exploded in popularity across the Internet. The growing collection currently contains over 32 million tweets referencing #metoo and dozens of related hashtags.
For qualitative analysis, our research focused on a random sample of one million tweets in the timespan from 2017 to 2020.
We reviewed the entire body of tweets to develop a sense of what is shared on Twitter about #MeToo.
A vast number of tweets violate the Twitter Rules. For example, within our probe 153 tweets by @AmyMek have been withheld based on local law(s). Over a fifth of the tweets within the probe consist of doubtful veracity content
The more time one spends with the most popular #MeToo tweets, the more problematic the dataset becomes. Observing these aspects of highly-trafficked tweets, questions arises: what is #MeToo actually about? How do social media economies of attention distort the experiences at the root of the movement?
The #MeToo movement has been understood as a social movement against sexual harassment and violence, activated by people making public allegations. But within the most shared tweets, only nine wrote about personal experiences of abuse or harm.
After undertaking a conventional network analysis, we realized that network measures did not surface the most important voices in the #MeToo movement. Between the movement's goals and the networked effects of social media metric mysticism, there lies a discrepancy. Thus, our #MeToo Anti-Network analysis dismisses network measures of "success". Our research offers a qualitatively–curated collection of frequently unheard tweets that were lost in the networked effects of social media. What we offer here is an aesthetic invitation to re-center the movement: to experience individual stories as evidence of the structural problems of mediated social media movements and the larger society that produces them.