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The structure of online activism

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  • Kevin Lewis
  • Kurt Gray
  • Jens Meierhenrich
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    Abstract

    Despite the tremendous amount of attention that has been paid to the internet as a tool for civic engagement, we still have little idea how “active” is the average online activist or how social networks matter in facilitating electronic protest. In this paper, we use complete records on the donation and recruitment activity of 1.2 million members of the Save Darfur “Cause” on Facebook to provide a detailed first look at a massive online social movement. While both donation and recruitment behavior are socially patterned, the vast majority of Cause members recruited no one else into the Cause and contributed no money to it-suggesting that in the case of the Save Darfur campaign, Facebook conjured an illusion of activism rather than facilitating the real thing.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/55821/
    File Function: Open access version.
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 55821.

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    Date of creation: 18 Feb 2014
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    Publication status: Published in Sociological Science, 18, February, 2014, 1, pp. 1-9. ISSN: 2330-6696
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:55821

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    Related research

    Keywords: social networks; social movements; social media; online activism; Facebook; Save Darfur;

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    1. AfDB AfDB, . "AfDB Group Annual Report 2007," Annual Report, African Development Bank, number 63 edited by Koua Louis Kouakou, 6.
    2. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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