Protest Observation and Mass Self-Communication: Meditations on the Arab Spring

19 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2015

See all articles by Nora Webb Williams

Nora Webb Williams

University of Georgia; University of Washington, Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 9, 2015

Abstract

The Arab Spring has drawn a host of inquiries into the role of the Internet and social media during protest, leading many to question the links between online communication and offline activity. Evidence suggests that much of the information sharing about the protest events happened via online networks. Building on these observations and the literature of citizen journalism, this paper provides a new perspective on Internet communication technologies (ICTs) and protest. It advances the concept of protest observation as a distinct level of collective action involvement. This level of involvement holds particular importance in the digital age because witnessing protest and sharing experiences can have a larger impact than ever before on shaping the meaning and reach of a given demonstrations.

Keywords: Protest, ICT, observers, citizen journalism, differential participation, levels of involvement

Suggested Citation

Webb Williams, Nora, Protest Observation and Mass Self-Communication: Meditations on the Arab Spring (February 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2579358 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2579358

Nora Webb Williams (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

University of Washington, Department of Political Science ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

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