Networked Discontent: The Anatomy of Protest Campaigns in Social Media
University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute
May 21, 2013
Forthcoming in Social Networks
We analyze the communication network that emerged in social media around an international protest campaign launched in May 2012. Applying insights from network science and the theory of brokerage, we examine the cohesion of the network with community detection methods, and identify the users that spanned structural holes, creating bridges for potential diffusion. We also analyze actual information flows to assess how the network was used to facilitate the transmission of information. Our findings provide evidence of fragmentation in online communication dynamics, and of a distribution of brokerage opportunities that was both uneven and underexploited. We use these findings to assess recent theoretical claims about political protests in the digital age.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: social protests; online networks; structural constraint; modularity; digital media
Date posted: May 22, 2013 ; Last revised: July 22, 2015
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