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Campus inSaint Petersburg

Proof that the Internet and Social Media Impact Protests

HSE-St. Petersburg has hosted the Social Media and Social Movements conference, organized by the Laboratory for Internet Studies (LINIS). Over two days, participants from Germany, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Iran and other countries presented reports about the connections between individuals' activity on social media and their offline activity, and on whether social media impact the desire to protest or take part in social movements.

HSE-St. Petersburg has hosted the Social Media and Social Movements conference, organized by the Laboratory for Internet Studies (LINIS). Over two days, participants from Germany, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Iran and other countries presented reports about the connections between individuals' activity on social media and their offline activity, and on whether social media impact the desire to protest or take part in social movements.

LINIS invited respected social network and media researchers Dr. Robert Ackland from Australian National University, who heads the VOSON project, and Maria Petrova, media economist from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona to give keynote speeches.

Social media and protests

Social networks have a real impact on participation in protests. Initial results from research carried out by Maria Petrova (UPF) indicates that Vkontakte significantly boosts the number of protestors. Research shows that Vkontakte has a positive impact on protest participation in Russian towns that are home to early adopters of social networks.

Benjamin E. Lind (HSE) focused his research on analysing Twitter accounts by geo-location and hash-tags about the protests in June 2012 and January 2013, while LINIS Head Olessia Koltsova chose the theme of leadership. Her research shows that leaders identified via analysis of posts and commentaries on Vkontakte also proved to be leaders of offline activity.

By Nora Kirk