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Social Action in the Social Movement: Egyptian Twitter Usage during Protests

Zuoming Wang1, Kara Caskey2, Hannah Novak3

 DOI :


In recent years, social media has been increasingly used to generate and organize social movements with the hope of effecting change. While many assumptions are made about the way social media is used, few studies actually examine the way individuals use these tools. This study uses content analysis to examine the way that Twitter was used to incite, organize, and perpetuate the Egyptian election protest in January 2011. The goal of this study is to provide insight into how Twitter is used, the tonality of the tweets, and the purpose of distributed messages. To meet this goal, we coded 786 tweets during the Egypt protest for content and linguistic features. Results showed that Twitter is a tool primarily used for sharing personal experience and opinions, information about police and military activity, and logistical information to create a unified community and mobilize individuals to participate in a physical space of protest.