Previous studies of online (collective) identity have explored how social media–specific practices like hashtags can enable identity construction and affiliation with a wider community of users. Practices such as mentioning and retweeting have also been discussed in the literature but the practice of following as a discourse practice is underexplored. This article presents a corpus-based Critical Discourse Analytical approach to the study of collective identity on Twitter that focuses on the relationships between following and language use and details a study conducted on the language used by followers of the Football Lads Alliance – a protest group who say they are ‘against all extremism’. This approach was fruitful in identifying correlations between salient discourses in follower profile descriptions and their tweets and suggests that a portion of the followership constructs identity in relation to radical right-wing and populist discourse specifically concerning Islam/Muslims.
McGlashan, M. (2020). Collective identity and discourse practice in the followership of the Football Lads Alliance on Twitter. Discourse and Society, 31(3), 307–328. https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926519889128