- Protest leadership in the age of social media
- Information, Communication & Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 7
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This article challenges the idea that social media protest mobilization and communication are primarily propelled by the self-motivated sharing of ideas, plans, images, and resources. It shows that leadership plays a vital role in steering popular contention on key social platforms. This argument is developed through a detailed case study on the interaction between the administrators and users of the Kullena Khaled Said Facebook page, the most popular online platform during the Egyptian revolution of early 2011. The analysis specifically focuses on the period from 1 January until 15 February 2011. It draws from 1629 admin posts and 1,465,696 user comments, extracted via a customized version of Netvizz. For each day during this period, the three most engaged with posts, as well as the 10 most engaged with comments, have been translated and coded, making it possible to systematically examine how the administrators tried to shape the communication on the page, and how users responded to these efforts. This analysis is pursued from a sociotechnical perspective. It traces how the exchanges on the page are simultaneously shaped by the admins’ marketing strategies and the technological architecture of the Facebook page. On the basis of this exploration, we argue that the page administrators should be understood as ‘connective leaders’. Rather than directing protest activity through formal organizations and collective identity frames, as social movement leaders have traditionally done, connective leaders invite and steer user participation by employing sophisticated marketing strategies to connect users in online communication streams and networks.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.