Twitter is increasingly playing a crucial role in spreading the message of social movements. This fact has been found in a recent analysis of millions of tweets surrounding social movements.
People who like or retweet socially relevant contents and tweets surrounding protests are often rebuked as ‘slacktivists.’ However, the study has highlighted that these players who are often trivialized do play a crucial role in widening the ambit of social movements.
It is these people who color their Facebook profile with the French flag to show support to Parisians who were bleeding after the terrorist attack. These are the people who colored pink their profile to support Planned Parenthood.
The sign online petitions retweet political messages of important personalities, share activist videos. Often rebuked, the analysis revealed that they play a critical role in extending the reach of social movements – even doubling them.
The study was led by Professor Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon attached with the University of Pennsylvania and Pablo Barbera from New York University.
The study analyzed millions of tweets connected with some unique social protests like the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey, and 2012 United for Global Change campaign.
The researchers were able to differentiate between persons who were actually at the spot and those who were spreading messages from distant locations by using location data of the tweets. They also analyzed the sender’s network to create a working model showing the flow and spread of information during the protests.
The study helped to understand the role Twitter played in these protests. The study firmly established the fact that Twitter plays a very crucial role in any modern-day protests.
The study also answered the critics who said that Twitter had a trivial role in the spread of information during any modern-day protests.