The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Simon Lindgren: Where the Action is in Twitter Activism: Mapping the Libyan Uprising

Simon Lindgren, Umeå University


Much attention is directed towards the role of networked digital media in uprisings around the world. This article uses a case study to address the overarching research question of whether social media revolutions are possible. The study is based on connected concept analysis and social network analysis of a dataset representing communication employing the #feb17 hashtag during the first 24 hours of protests in Libya during the Arab Spring in 2011. While activists obviously used social media share ideas and develop tactics, historically rooted cleavages and agencies are needed for technologies and aspirations to resonate into becoming a true revolution. The present day study of revolutions and uprisings still needs expertise from the field of internet research, but the question will seldom to never be whether social media made the revolutions happen in the first place.