IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Launching Revolution: Social Media and the Egyptian Uprising’s First Movers


  • Clarke, Killian
  • Kocak, Korhan


Drawing on evidence from the 2011 Egyptian uprising, this article demonstrates how the use of two social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter – contributed to a discrete mobilizational outcome: the staging of a successful first protest in a revolutionary cascade, referred to here as ‘first-mover mobilization’. Specifically, it argues that these two platforms facilitated the staging of a large, nationwide and seemingly leaderless protest on 25 January 2011, which signaled to hesitant but sympathetic Egyptians that a revolution might be in the making. It draws on qualitative and quantitative evidence, including interviews, social media data and surveys, to analyze three mechanisms that linked these platforms to the success of the January 25 protest: (1) protester recruitment, (2) protest planning and coordination, and (3) live updating about protest logistics. The article not only contributes to debates about the role of the Internet in the Arab Spring and other recent waves of mobilization, but also demonstrates how scholarship on the Internet in politics might move toward making more discrete, empirically grounded causal claims.

Suggested Citation

  • Clarke, Killian & Kocak, Korhan, 2020. "Launching Revolution: Social Media and the Egyptian Uprising’s First Movers," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 1025-1045, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:bjposi:v:50:y:2020:i:3:p:1025-1045_11

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jing Zhao & Xufeng Zhu, 2023. "Spreading expertise: think tanks as digital advocators in the social media era," Policy and Society, Darryl S. Jarvis and M. Ramesh, vol. 42(3), pages 359-377.
    2. Daniel Silverman & Karl Kaltenthaler & Mujtaba Ali Isani, 2022. "Don't rock the boat? Fears of conflict and support for protest in Iraq and beyond," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2022-168, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Bharati, Tushar & Jetter, Michael & Malik, Muhammad Nauman, 2022. "Types of Communications Technology and Civil Conflict," IZA Discussion Papers 15311, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Antonio Cortés-Ramos & Juan Antonio Torrecilla García & Miguel Landa-Blanco & Francisco Javier Poleo Gutiérrez & María Teresa Castilla Mesa, 2021. "Activism and Social Media: Youth Participation and Communication," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(18), pages 1-13, September.
    5. Pedro Ramaciotti Morales & Jean-Philippe Cointet & Caterina Froio, 2022. "Posters and protesters," Journal of Computational Social Science, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 1129-1157, November.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:bjposi:v:50:y:2020:i:3:p:1025-1045_11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Kirk Stebbing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.