SOCIAL COLLECTIVES AND NETWORKED MOVEMENT: DIFFUSION DYNAMICS IN THE GERMAN-SPEAKING #FRIDAYSFORFUTURE NETWORK ON TWITTER
Keywords:FridaysForFuture, diffusion, social movement, online discourse, social network analysis
AbstractInitiated by Greta Thunberg and carried by students who skip school every Friday to call for climate justice and the safeguarding of their future, FridaysForFuture emerged and proliferated along with both recognition and criticism. This study analyzes diffusion dynamics and connectivity formation in the German-speaking #FridaysForFuture network from its emergence to its expansion. Based on a diffusion network and cascade analysis (N = 238,458), it presents how different diffusion dynamics facilitated the emergence of #FridaysForFuture on Twitter. According to findings, FFF activists and organizations are the leading intermediaries and activators for movement diffusion. Most of the tweets in #FridaysForFuture are about activism, introducing the movement, and calling for action. During the development, news, liberal left, and right-wing actors joined, bringing discussions about the movement, the youth, and leading activists to the Twittersphere. While cascades by FFF clusters were more likely to gain attention and spread farther, faster, and deeper, cascades activated by right-wing actors were greater, but not broader, faster, or deeper. In contrast to the reciprocal reposting activities between left-wing and activist groups, right-wing actors are relatively isolated, expressing criticism of the movement. This study shows that the German-speaking #FridaysForFuture network serves as a facilitator of offline movements and features a public arena of political discourses. Through the mobilization endeavors of FFF clusters, engagement of left-wing hubs, and the counter-public of right-wing actors attacking the movement, it gained continuity and momentum to flourish.
How to Cite
Zhang, X. (2021). SOCIAL COLLECTIVES AND NETWORKED MOVEMENT: DIFFUSION DYNAMICS IN THE GERMAN-SPEAKING #FRIDAYSFORFUTURE NETWORK ON TWITTER. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12084