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Deconstructing Google Bombs: A Breach of Symbolic Power?

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 6 Oct 2005 09:55:39 -0400

Deconstructing Google bombs: A breach of symbolic power or just
a goofy prank?

by Clifford Tatum
First Monday v10n10
October 2005


In this study I compare two Google bombs using Melluci's (1996) social
movement framework. Viewing the Google bombing practice as a social
movement provides an informative lens from which to analyze the nature
and goals as well as the results of this form of online collective
action. The empirical basis for this research relies on analysis of
the content and context of Google bomb hyperlinking using an approach
informed by Beaulieu's (2005) notion of sociable hyperlinks. From this
study I conclude that the Google bombing practice is an online protest
technique not unlike the "media mind bomb" developed by the late Bob
Hunter of Greenpeace (2004) fame. In the case of Hunter's mind bombs,
sounds and images were used to form alternate constructions of reality
in the news media. Similarly, Google bombs are constructed by
manipulating the relative ranking of an Internet search term and
thereby creating alternate constructions of reality through collective
action online.


Analytical framework
Deconstructing Google bombs

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