Social Media Protesting and Arizona’s Immigration Bill

"alto arizona" arizona police state

Images from Facebook pages protesting Arizona's SB1070 immigration law.

Arizona’s controversial immigration bill, SB1070 was just signed into law last Friday, but its social media footprint has already been firmly established. 

Search “SB1070” on Facebook, and you’ll find 37 Pages, 89 Groups and 55 events (each with their own branding, of course) dedicated to the new law, both for and against it. The term has its own Twitter hashtag. There are dozens of YouTube videos showing protests and news clips of politicians and pundits debating the bill. You can even buy a “Do I Look Illegal?” t-shirt on Cafe Press.

I expect to start seeing bumper stickers and front-yard picket signs pop up around Tucson soon, but it has been fascinating to see the speed at which social media protests and rallies are created and spread. I’m curious to see how it translates to offline behavior.

Will the online calls for boycott really hurt the Arizona economy? Will social media advocacy campaigns look for civil rights abuses or have an impact on efforts to overturn the law? Will state politicians or law enforcement agencies respond to social media comments or even start their own outreach online?

Social media protests didn’t save Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show job, but it did help sell out his comedy tour in a matter of hours and certainly played a big part in the court of public opinion. And as much as I love Conan, illegal immigration is a much more important issue, so theoretically the power of a social media movement is far greater here.

UPDATE: It looks like this is spilling over to higher ed, too. Lane Joplin tweeted this morning about the immigration debate landing on Arizona State University’s Facebook Page:

People started posting immigration-related messages on ASU’s wall on Sunday, many of them filled with profanity and name calling. No response yet from the university.

2 Responses to “Social Media Protesting and Arizona’s Immigration Bill”

  1. Christy Career Says:

    All of this boycott Arizona stuff makes my blood boil. Yeah, let’s punish Arizona business and citizens because politicians are idiots.

  2. Lillian King Says:

    Public Relations is all about pleasing the common people.*;’

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I write what I know (and love). Mostly higher education, writing and public relations.