In the post-Trump era, tools like Resistbot and Countable seek to make political engagement easier and more readily accessible to broader audiences. These tools predetermine which political stakeholders users should contact and ensure that collective action efforts to reach elected officials become automated. Recently, I presented in a course alongside a professor and founder of a new kind of tool that hopes to centralize and simplify many of the processes of collective action. Betsy Sinclair, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, developed an online platform she hopes will allow any citizens to start a “micro social movement.” Magnify Your Voice is described as “…the solutions platform for civic, environmental, and political initiatives near you. Create a new project, or join one to help make change in your neighborhood and beyond.” With Magnify, anyone can create a profile and post a project. Take for instance asking faculty to make election day “A Day Off For Democracy.” This particular project seeks to mobilize university members to cancel class and pressure their university president to make election day a holiday. The project has 49 members who support the initiative and 11 who have already taken an action such as cancelling class on election day or emailing their university president. Several are also part of related growing efforts through https://www.educatorpledge.com/ and http://www.adayofffordemocracy.com/. Continue reading
Tag Archives: online activism
By Gabriela Gonzales, Juhi Tyagi, Idil Akin, Fernanda Page, Michael Schwartz and Arnout van de Rijt
We are delighted by the renewed discussion of the role of spontaneous processes in social movements; especially since we have been working on ways to identify and measure emergent processes for the past two years. As pointed out in the previous by Jaime Kucinskas (Spontaneity: An important and neglected topic in social movements), sociologists have to be careful before attributing spontaneity to invisible or unknown mechanisms, which could well be the result of ‘a priori factors.’ This identification problem occurs in much ex post facto research, which is usually unable to control for these a priori factors in order to empirically isolate a mechanism of spontaneity. Continue reading
From 2006-2012, I had a NSF CAREER Award to collect data on online protest across 20 different issue areas. That effort produced two time-series datasets: a panel dataset tracking about 1,200 websites across 5 years, and a cross-sectional dataset tracking new samples of websites each year for five years. Each of these datasets is really two nested sets: one on the overall websites and one on all protest actions that were hosted or linked to from study websites.
After discussions with potential users at the CBSM pre-conference in Las Vegas, several data collection team members and I designed a data release process based directly on potential user input that is engineered to develop a strong and informed user base and reviewing community for the dataset. Continue reading