Twitter as a tool for political protests


Just out is a new paper on using Twitter as a tool for social protest, written by Lisa Ems “Twitter’s place in the tussle: how old power struggles play out on a new stage” being published in Media Culture Society.


The recent proliferation and impact of protest events in the Middle East, northern Africa, and the development of a worldwide Occupy Wall Street movement have ignited inquiry into the people, social structures and technologies that have helped give these social movements form. Three cases are described here which add to this discussion and lead to a pruning of the analytical landscape in this subject area. By looking to the use of Twitter as a tool for political protest in Iran in 2009, Moldova in 2009 and the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, the complexity of the intertwined social and technological strands that have given rise to these new political protests is acknowledged. By realizing that this distinction is salient yet fuzzy, it becomes possible to make new observations, ask new questions and begin to understand the nature of recent political tussles and the communication tools used in them. For instance, this article posits that by seeing the particular use of a new communication tool – a socio-technical assemblage – as an artifact, analysts can learn something new about the motivations of those sitting at the negotiating table.

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4 thoughts on “Twitter as a tool for political protests

  1. yes sorry was wondering what is so different from other forms of communication, even say talking on a cell-phone or whatever and how do they test such hypotheses? Also as different people are inevitably going to do different things (and in differing contexts) how would one isolate a sort of twitter effect?


  2. Not sure I totally follow that question. Does “active qualities” refer to whatever makes Twitter uniquely useful for protest?


  3. do they adequate spell out how they come to assess the active qualities of such assemblages and find in them some kind of measurable/traceable features/powers/effects?


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