Studying the Evolution of Online Collective Action: Saudi Arabian Women’s ‘Oct26Driving’ Twitter Campaign
Social media have played a substantial role in supporting collective actions. Reports state that protesters use blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other online communication media and environments to mobilize and spread awareness. In this research, we focus on studying the process of formation of online collective action (OCA) by analyzing the diffusion of hashtags. We examine the recently organized Saudi Arabian women’s right to drive campaign, called ‘Oct26Driving’ and collected the Twitter data, starting from September 25, 2013 to the present. Given the definitive nature of hashtags, we investigate the co-evolution of hashtag usage and the campaign network. The study considers the dominant hashtags dedicated to the Oct26Driving campaign, viz., ‘#oct26driving’ and ‘#قيادة_26اكتوبر’. Morteover, it identifies cross-cultural aspects with individual hashtag networks, with Arabic hashtags relating to local factors and English hashtags contributing to transnational support from other organizations, such as those related to human rights and women’s rights. Despite the wide news media coverage of social movements, there is a lack of systematic methodologies to analytically model such phenomena in complex online environments. The research aims to develop models that help advance the understanding of interconnected collective actions conducted through modern social and information systems.
KeywordsOnline collective action Oct26Driving social movement hashtag diffusion transnational interorganization cross-cultural Twitter Saudi Arabia
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