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5 reasons why online Big Data is Bad Data for researching social movements

I know, I know, it’s digital blasphemy to say that using Internet data is a terrible way to study social movements. What about all of those Twitter and Facebook revolutions of the Arab Spring? And Occupy Wall Street? #Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter spread like wildfire, for God’s sake. You may think that I’m a luddite who [...]

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From French Resistance to hashtag activism: How our obsession with the extraordinary masks the power of the ordinary

I’ve become obsessed with “Un village français.” No, it’s not an idyllic town in Provence. It’s a French television series set during World War II. The show follows the residents of one French town as they navigate the German occupation. I tell myself that I am already into the 6th season (thank you, Netflix) because [...]

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Bringing the Organization Back In: Social Media and Social Movements

In the digital era of so-called Facebook revolutions or hashtag activism, many claim that participation in social movements is individualized and personalized, but building and sustaining a political movement, even an online movement, still requires organization. I make this argument in my recent blog post at the Berkeley Journal of Sociology.

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Is Facebook just another paperboy with bad aim?

“Facebook Is a Bigger Source for Political News than CNN, Fox” headlined a Mashable article last week. Oh, really? This provocative phrase kept showing up on my Twitter feed. The article was one of many that splashed news headlines after the Pew Research Journalism project issued a report on the news habits of Americans. But [...]

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