Synopses & Reviews
As people spend increasing proportions of their daily lives using social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, they are being invited to support myriad political causes by sharing, liking, endorsing, or downloading. Chain reactions caused by these tiny acts of participation form a growing part of collective action today, from neighborhood campaigns to global political movements. Political Turbulence
reveals that, in fact, most attempts at collective action online don't succeed, but some give rise to huge mobilizations--even revolutions.
Drawing on large-scale data generated from the Internet and real-world events, this book shows how mobilizations that succeed are unpredictable, unstable, and often unsustainable. To better understand this unruly new force in the political world, the authors use experiments that test how social media influence citizens deciding whether or not to participate. They show how different personality types react to these social influences and identify which types of people are willing to participate at an early stage in a mobilization when there are few supporters or signals of viability. The authors argue that pluralism is the model of democracy that is emerging in the social media age--not the ordered, organized vision of early pluralists, but a chaotic, turbulent form of politics.
This book demonstrates how data science and experimentation with social data can provide a methodological toolkit for understanding, shaping, and perhaps even predicting this democratic turbulence.
The Description for this book, Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action, will be forthcoming.
"This engagingly written and elegantly designed study tests to their limits half a century's worth of big ideas about collective action. The authors convincingly show why information signals, visibility, and the distribution of thresholds are important for explaining the pace and scale of political engagement. Essential reading if you want to understand how it all kicks off online."--Andrew Chadwick, author of The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power
"Political Turbulence is an exciting book. The authors bring a psychological perspective to the analysis of experimental results and big data to tell an insightful and fresh story about social media and collective action dynamics at the individual level."--Bruce Bimber, author of Information and American Democracy: Technology in the Evolution of Political Power
"This is great, adventurous social science."--Philip N. Howard, coauthor of Democracy's Fourth Wave?: Digital Media and the Arab Spring
About the Author
Helen Margetts is professor of society and the Internet and director of the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. Peter John is professor of political science and public policy at University College London. Scott Hale is a data scientist at the Oxford Internet Institute. Taha Yasseri is a research fellow in computational social science at the Oxford Internet Institute.