Networked publics and the organizing of collective action on Twitter: Examining the #Freebassel campaign

Rong Wang, Kar Hai Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study applied collective action theories and network theories to examine the information sharing patterns among Twitter users to obtain sociopolitical legitimacy of their collective goal. The role of Twitter in facilitating private–public boundary crossing was defined in relation to main challenges of collective action. The hypotheses and research question were examined using Twitter data collected from an online campaign, which was created to bring about the release of a detained Syrian activist. Network analysis results showed significant geographic homophily effect, that is, participants located in the same region tended to share information with each other. In addition, the results indicated that more influential Twitter users tended to connect with less influential users to help spread information on the movement. Further content analysis showed that to better mobilize potential collective action participants, Twitter users utilized strategies to draw attention from citizen news media organizations, nonprofit advocacy organizations, public figures, and corporations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • Collective action
  • ERGM
  • Twitter
  • freebassel
  • network analysis
  • online campaign
  • online information sharing
  • social media
  • sociopolitcal legitimacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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