In their upcoming book, Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez argue that the theme of anger is prevalent throughout literature and modern parlance, especially online. In that vein, this study analyzes tweets containing hashtags such as #MeToo, #fakenews, and #Gamergate, to uncover hashtags’ usagepatterns from a corpus of more than 4 million tweets. The lens of psychological catharsis informs our developing model of “Internet Conditional Catharsis.” This presentation includes a discussion of possible real benefits of Internet social movements, as well as guidance on preventing these hashtags from becoming out-of-control and harming their own goals. Lastly, a collection of psychological studies (Cerkez & Birol, 2017; Savci & Aysan, 2016; Deiter, et al., 2017; Verona & Sullivan, 2008) justify and interpolate a healthy middle-ground between effective Internet activism and the toxic flame war of online debate.
Stephen Cook is a senior from Brigham Young University, with a major in psychology and minor in Digital Humanities. His emphasis is on inter-disciplinary studies, combining psychological tools, research, theories to explain data trends in sentiment analysis, corpus, close readings, and other digital humanities practices. The main goal of this research is to develop more advanced, pragmatic models of human behavior, more accurate data aggregation, and improving both fields through integration of the other.