Fairfield University social media expert/author offers comment on Komen/Planned Parenthood debate

Media Advisory

Who: David Gudelunas, Ph.D., Fairfield University, associate professor of communication and director of the Women's Studies Program, who researches critical and cultural studies, sexuality and communication, media history and the communications industries. He is the author of "Confidential to America: Newspaper Advice and Sexual Education" and is a frequent commentator in the areas of popular communication and social media. Dr. Gudelunas has appeared on MSNBC and in The Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Daily News and several other local and national media outlets.

Debate: With the ongoing debate over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision to pull - then restore - its funding to Planned Parenthood this week, many Americans wonder how much influence social media had on the case.

Quote: "The Komen Foundation story is interesting not just because of the passion it stirred on both sides of the debate, but rather how this passion has played out through social media," said Dr. Gudelunas. "Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites have been the platforms that allowed a rather complicated story to become something far more participatory.

"Particularly interesting is that the exact reason for Komen pulling funding from Planned Parenthood is still a matter of debate. Bloggers and social commentators have been speculating wildly, and these ideas have been re-circulated by everyday social media users. Komen ultimately reversed their decision not because of what was reported in mainstream media, pressure from politicians, or other traditional sources of influence; instead it was a groundswell of social media support in support of Planned Parenthood that caused the change. Activism here came in the form of a tweet, not traditional protests, yet the message was heard even more loudly."

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 3, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 190

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