A model of crowd-enabled organization: Theory and methods for understanding the role of twitter in the occupy protests

Sheetal D. Agarwal, W. Lance Bennett, Courtney N. Johnson, Shawn Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This analysis establishes a conceptual framework, empirical criteria, and measures for deciding when technology-equipped crowd networks such as Occupy Wall Street behave as organizations. The framework is based on three principles that underlie most organizations: (1) resource mobilization; (2) responsiveness to short-term external conditions; and (3) coordinated long-term change, adaptation, or decline. We argue that Twitter played a coordinating role in Occupy as a connector and dynamic switching mechanism linking various networks. We develop methods for tracking how users embedded and shared links to resource locations. Using a database of some 60 million tweets, we examine different types of links distributed through different hashtags across time, showing how Occupy operated along each theoretical dimension as a networked organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-672
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Volume8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Big data
  • Collective action
  • Networked organization
  • Networks
  • Occupy
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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