Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminal Justice


Shauna Morimoto

Committee Member

Casey Harris

Second Committee Member

Juan Jose Bustamante


Black Lives Matter, Social Capital, Social Media, Social Trust, Twitter


This study aims to understand how social media is changing the landscape of social capital. Current research indicates a paradox between the growing use of mediated sources that are building social capital and low levels of social trust found in social media. People are skeptical of whether social media is trustworthy because there is no mechanism for fact-checking or verifying the information posted online. Since traces of social capital postulate social trust, it is needed to promote communal change. To understand this paradox, the Black Lives Matter movement is examined as an online platform that brings people together who have been historically excluded from political voice and action. #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) is the quintessential example of social media encouraging political involvement, engaging average citizens, and promoting activism. Through open-ended interviews, this study showed how social media connects people with shared beliefs and experiences and why individuals trust it more than traditional news sources. Controlling images created by dominant groups have shifted people’s trust and pushed them to find different avenues to share their stories. The findings demonstrated that social media provides all the components needed to produce social capital and establish trust in such a way that propels civic activism.