Back in 2016 I joined a Twitter community campaign called #CripTheVote to elevate disability issues during the US Presidential Election. It didn’t take long for me to notice that something spectacular was taking shape – a social movement. For a graduate class I was taking at the time I decided to collect an archive of the Twitter dialogues being led by Alice Wong, Gregg Beratan, and Andrew Pulrang via the #CriptTheVote hashtag.
It took nearly four years, but the research is now published open-access in Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies.
Below is the abstract. Enjoy!
ABSTRACT: In preparation for the 2016 presidential election, disabled thought-leaders and activists used Twitter to create the #CripThe Vote campaign, aimed at mobilizing their online communities to make disability access and inclusion a recognized social problem. Utilizing qualitative content analysis of over 11,000 tweets, this study found that the individual action goals propagated by disabled activists who engaged with the #CripTheVote hashtag differed from those centralized by the leaders of the campaign. Activists used the #CripTheVote to counter pervasive ableist ideologies pertaining to political engagement. They connectively argued that: 1) disabled people are politically aware; 2) disabled people have voice; 3) the opinions of disabled people matter; and 4) disabled people will fight for their rights. This paper serves as a historiographical document of online activism taking place via #CripTheVote and aims to contextualize it within the corpus of disability studies literature.