SeConS researchers presented results of the pilot survey on online and offline activism in Serbia in CC Grad, which showed that the Internet was the main means of communication and source of information on protests Against Dictatorship: nine out of ten respondents got their information online, a third joined the protest after receiving an invitation through social networks, and 5 percent after receiving an invitation from an unknown person on the Internet. Docent Dr Dalibor Petrović, sociologist and SeConS researcher, explained that the survey, conducted online from 1 to 15 June 2017, indicated that “digital activists” can be identified online. They are mostly students from urban areas, who get their information from the Internet, are active on all social networks, do not follow traditional media, attend protests in groups and are skeptical towards traditional forms of democracy. The dominant form of online activism is “liking”, while “digital activists” who make up about one quarter of users are disposed to other types of activism also, such as sharing content, commenting, etc.
Part of the survey dedicated to content analysis of the Facebook group Against Dictatorship (period: 4 April – 4 May 2017) showed the way posts on social networks shaped the discourse on Against Dictatorship protests online. Posts were predominantly short (less than 15 words) and focused on the protest itself, its organization and communication, on public authorities, which elicited critical comments in a negative value context, and on traditional media in Serbia, ranging from active support to weeklies, to criticism and pronounced opposition to state media and tabloids. On the other hand, as Stefan Stefanović, SeConS researcher explained, the informative function of posts was much less present, and the discussion potential of the group was not used for a fact-based debate (5 comments per post, on average), as compared to abbreviated evaluation – reactions (149 reactions per post).
Analysis shows that textual and visual elements (photos and illustrations) were equally used for communicating online and creating the desired discourse on protests, while almost all audiovisual materials were video records of the protests themselves.