Revolutions in the Digital Age

Deena Abul Fottouh is a PhD student of Sociology at McMaster University. Her Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship funded dissertation examines digital activism, computational sociology, social networks and social movements.

McMaster Researcher

What is this research about?

During the Egyptian revolution in 2011, Twitter networks among Egyptian activists began to evolve. Networks combine, due to similar ideals, previous ties, or bridge builders between networks. This research looks at different moments of solidarity and schism in the Egyptian revolution. It compares two time periods in 2011 and 2015 and looks at the effect of homophily on network structure, the effects of previous networks on newer networks, as well as how certain Twitter activists build relations between different networks. 

What will the researchers do?

The researcher looks at tweets created by activists, identifying interactions within them, such as mentions, retweets, and hashtags to determine the structure and evolution of Twitter networks. 

What do the researchers hope to find?

This research hopes to help us better understand the important role that digital media plays in bring people together to enact social change.

How might you use this research?

This research is helpful for understanding solidarity and schism in the Egyptian revolution, as well as revolutions in a digital age. It fills a theoretical gap by linking theories of digital activism to social movement theories of coalitions. It could also shed light on digital activism in other areas.  

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