The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

285 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recent wave of mobilizations in the Arab world and across Western countries has generated much discussion on how digital media is connected to the diffusion of protests. We examine that connection using data from the surge of mobilizations that took place in Spain in May 2011. We study recruitment patterns in the Twitter network and find evidence of social influence and complex contagion. We identify the network position of early participants (i.e. the leaders of the recruitment process) and of the users who acted as seeds of message cascades (i.e. the spreaders of information). We find that early participants cannot be characterized by a typical topological position but spreaders tend to be more central in the network. These findings shed light on the connection between online networks, social contagion, and collective dynamics, and offer an empirical test to the recruitment mechanisms theorized in formal models of collective action.

Original languageEnglish
Article number197
JournalScientific Reports
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Protest
Mobilization
Collective action
Digital media
Spain
Cascade
Social contagion
Social influence
Twitter
Formal model
Empirical test
Contagion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

González-Bailón, S., Borge-Holthoefer, J., Rivero, A., & Moreno, Y. (2011). The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network. Scientific Reports, 1, [197]. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep00197

The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network. / González-Bailón, Sandra; Borge-Holthoefer, Javier; Rivero, Alejandro; Moreno, Yamir.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 1, 197, 01.12.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

González-Bailón, S, Borge-Holthoefer, J, Rivero, A & Moreno, Y 2011, 'The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network', Scientific Reports, vol. 1, 197. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep00197
González-Bailón S, Borge-Holthoefer J, Rivero A, Moreno Y. The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network. Scientific Reports. 2011 Dec 1;1. 197. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep00197
González-Bailón, Sandra ; Borge-Holthoefer, Javier ; Rivero, Alejandro ; Moreno, Yamir. / The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network. In: Scientific Reports. 2011 ; Vol. 1.
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