The Wealth of (Occupation) Networks? Communication Patterns and Information Distribution in a Twitter Protest Network

Theocharis, Yannis

Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2013
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of Information Technology & Politics : JITP
Volume: 10
Issue number: 1
Page range: 35-56
Place of publication: Binghamton, NY
Publishing house: Haworth Press
ISSN: 1933-1681 , 1933-169X
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Mannheim Centre for European Social Research - Research Department B
Subject: 320 Political science
Abstract: Can social media facilitate better protest action organization and coordination? This question has been at the forefront of discussion between media pundits and academic scholars. But what networking mechanisms and communication patterns help activists achieve better organization and coordination? This study uses social network analysis to explore students' Twitter use during the 2010 university occupations. It maps the interconnections between Twitter occupation accounts at the peak of the online protest network's activity and examines how this structure benefited the entire network. It identifies (a) how “closely” accounts were connected, (b) which were the best connected, and (c) which acted as brokers. Findings show that the protest groups used the Twitter network structure to establish horizontal, direct lines of communication to efficiently redistribute information. Although some accounts played a larger role in distributing information than others, occupation accounts could continue to receive information from the decentralized network even if well-connected accounts were removed.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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