Carrie O’Connell, a graduate student in the School of Journalism & Media Studies, presented a paper at the 2012 Student Research Symposium on the use of social media during the uprisings in Egypt.
The paper, titled, “Network theory and political revolution: A case study of the role of social media in the diffusion of political revolution in Egypt,” was among the hundreds of student research presentations during the symposium, held on the SDSU campus on March 9-10.
O’Connell’s study used a social-network analysis of key trending topics of Twitter to examine the impact of social media on the month-long political protests in Egypt in 2011. The central research question focused on an emerging concern in social activism, which seeks to determine whether pervasive social media have any real-world effects. The study charted the virtual connections between users and how information spreads through new media platforms and analyzed the correlation between the rise and influence of new media and political engagement of the various publics involved.
O’Connell’s preliminary findings supported similar research of online networks, indicating that online communities that have roots in or can translate to actual communities enjoy the best chances for social efficacy. O’Connell will continue her study throughout the summer and complete her thesis in the fall.