This week the Social Science Computer Review published an online first version of a new paper by Pascal Jürgens and I on the use of Twitter during the protests against Stuttgart 21. Here is the abstract:
Through a glass, darkly: tactical support and symbolic association in Twitter messages commenting on Stuttgart 21
Abstract: Political actors increasingly use the microblogging service, Twitter, for the organization, coordination, and documentation of collective action. These interactions with Twitter leave digital artifacts that can be analyzed. In this article, we look at Twitter messages commenting on one of the most contentious protests in Germany’s recent history, the protests against the infrastructure project Stuttgart 21. We analyze all messages containing the hashtag #s21 that were posted between May 25, 2010, and November 14, 2010, by the 80,000 most followed Twitter users in Germany. We do this to answer three questions: First, what distinguishes events that resulted in high activity on Twitter from events that did not? Second, during times of high activity, does the behavior of Twitter users vary from their usual behavior patterns? Third, were the artifacts (retweets, links) that dominated conversations during times of high activity indicative of tactical support of the protests or of symbolic association with it?
Andreas Jungherr, and Pascal Jürgens. 2013. “Through a glass, darkly: tactical support and symbolic association in Twitter messages commenting on Stuttgart 21.” Social Science Computer Review (Online First).