The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Sereno: Understanding the Hyperlinks Politics Better: The Israeli Protest Networks as a Case Study

Paper presenter: 
Sereno, K., Hebrew University of Jerusalem

This paper attempts to shed light on the debate regarding the nature of the hyperlink as a political tool: whether the hyperlink is part of the "offline world", or should be considered as a new and separate form of practice, mainly due to its low cost and easy construction. The current study offers two innovations to the present literature: first, based on link analysis between 90 protest websites of Israeli NGOs, link strategies were classified into four categories - Isolation, Introversion, Neighborliness and Generalization. Furthermore, rather than focus on the network for a single issue, this study analyzed 15 different protest topics. Second, 29 in-depth interviews were conducted to enable comparison of online and offline policies. The findings show that the internet tends to replicate offline practices and hierarchies:

1) Organizations tend to be linked to those organizations with which they have a mutual working relationship or coalition.

2) Most organizations are linked to protest clusters they perceive as close and relevant.

3) Radical organizations receive fewer hyperlinks.

4) Organizations with limited resources (e.g. finance or membership) tend to be isolated, also receiving fewer links.

Keren Sereno