Online networks and the diffusion of protest

Sandra González-Bailón, Javier Borge-Holthoefer, Yamir Moreno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing availability of digital data, based on real-time transactions between people, provides new empirical evidence with which to assess theories that so far had to deal with weak proxies to the structure of human interaction. This chapter makes use of that sort of data to test some of the mechanisms long theorised in the study of collective action. It reviews previous research on the dynamics of protest diffusion and discusses threshold mechanisms and the way in which they operate. The chapter focuses on the networks of interdependence that act as a bridge between the individual-level mechanisms and the aggregated patterns. It also provides some evidence of how the local contexts that networks create change the dynamics of social influence. Finally, the chapter evaluates future lines of research and some of the ways in which digital data can help test models that so far relied mostly on simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnalytical Sociology: Actions and Networks
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781118762707, 9781119940388
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Diffusion dynamics
  • Digital data
  • Online networks
  • Social influence
  • Threshold mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

González-Bailón, S., Borge-Holthoefer, J., & Moreno, Y. (2014). Online networks and the diffusion of protest. In Analytical Sociology: Actions and Networks (pp. 261-278). Wiley Blackwell.