Sandra González-Bailón – Online Networks and the Coordination of Political ProtestsCITP Luncheon Series
It is common knowledge that social networks (and their digital manifestation) are behind some of the most explosive political events of the last few years. Revolutions, mass mobilizations, and political protests of diverse color have been orchestrated with the help of online networks, which provided a central means for coordination and communication. There are still, however, many unanswered questions about the mechanisms that make networks such a crucial element in the process of organizing without organizations. This talk will present and discuss recent research illuminating the mobilization dynamics behind several episodes of large-scale political protest, as mediated by social media. Special attention will be paid to how the structure of networks shapes the diffusion of information, and to the social factors that shape that structure. The aim is to show that common knowledge about how these events took place is often based on misleading perceptions of how communication networks operate and of the mechanisms that are activated during those moments of collective effervescence.
Sandra González-Bailón is Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Annenberg School, she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. She obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Oxford. Her research interests include social media and political protest, networks and information diffusion, methods for automated text analysis, and agenda-setting dynamics. More info on papers and projects can be found at http://www.asc.upenn.edu/sgonzalezbailon.