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The impact of social media on the Arab uprisings Pippa Norris Harvard University and the University of Sydney www.pippanorris.com.

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Presentation on theme: "The impact of social media on the Arab uprisings Pippa Norris Harvard University and the University of Sydney www.pippanorris.com."— Presentation transcript:

1 The impact of social media on the Arab uprisings Pippa Norris Harvard University and the University of Sydney

2 Structure I.Theoretical framework II.Data sources and evidence III.Analysis and results IV.Conclusions and implications

3 I. Theoretical framework Social Media – Platforms eg Facebook, Twitter – Channels eg blogs, websites, text messages Personal Media Mass Media Complex mélange of interactive sources

4 Potential impact of social media? Informational – News about uprisings Networking – Reduce transaction costs of collective action Cultural – Reinforce democratic aspirations Behavioral – Encourage propensity to engage in protest action Or null hypothesis?

5 II: Data sources Zogby Research Services Surveys September 2011 N.4, nations The Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey spring N.3, nations World Values Survey Aggregate data on ICTs

6 III RESULTS AND ANALYSIS

7 Internet access and economic development in the Middle East and North Africa, 2007 Note: Internet users per 100 inhabitants, International Telecommunications Union Source: ITU; Penn World Tables.

8 Internet access and Facebook penetration, worldwide

9 General use of news sources TunisiaEgyptLebanonJordan Saudi Arabia UAEIran MASS MEDIA Satellite television networks National or local television networks Newspapers SOCIAL MEDIA Internet news sites Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS Talking to friends and family Note: Q What are the two most important ways that you follow news and information about events in your country? Choose two. Source: Zogby Research Services Surveys September 2011 N.4,205.

10 News sources used to follow the Arab uprisings TunisiaEgyptLebanonJordan Saudi Arabia UAEIran MASS MEDIA Satellite television networks National or local television networks Newspapers ONLINE MEDIA Internet news sites Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS Talking to friends and family Note: Q: What are the two most important ways that you followed the news and information of the recent uprisings in the Arab world? Choose two. Source: Zogby Research Services Surveys September 2011 N.4,205.

11 Most popular uses of social media, Tunisia and Egypt Facebook usersTwitter users TunisiaEgyptTunisiaEgypt Communicating with family and friends Meeting new people Expressing my views Getting news or information Becoming involved in politics Professional networking Note: Among users of Facebook and Twitter. Q:Now that you are a member of Facebook/Twitter, how helpful to you, personally, has Facebook been for:… % respondingVery helpful Source: Zogby Research Services Online Surveys, September 2010, N

12 Dissatisfaction with the future direction of the country EgyptJordanLebanonTurkeyAll Social media users Not users Difference Note: Do you ever use online social networking sites like Facebook? Overall, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today? % dissatisfied. Source: The Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey spring N.3,915.

13 The impact of media use on protest activism Protest activism scale INDIVIDUAL LEVEL Demographic characteristicsbseP. (sig) Age (in years) *** Sex(male=1) *** Socioeconomic resources Household income 10-pt scale * Education 9-pt scale *** Knowledge of democracy *** Democratic attitudes Democratic aspirations *** Democratic satisfaction *** Media use Newspaper use *** Television and radio news use *** Internet use *** NATIONAL-LEVEL Historic experience of democracy *** Constant (intercept) Schwartz BIC107,750 N. respondents46,700 N. nations42 Source: World Values Survey

14 Conclusions 1.People used social media for information and networking, supplementing mass media and personal communications 2.Satellite networks (eg Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia) were more popular than social media platforms 3. Social media users were not particularly radical in their political orientations 4.General use of the news media - and especially the internet - significantly associated with engagement in protest activism

15 Qualifications The unique role claimed for social media may have been exaggerated Contributed to uprisings but not unique Unfolding events in Arab uprisings (Syria, Libya and Egypt…) so work in progress Further evidence becoming available from 6 th wave WVS ( )


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