2015-12-03

muse: "the heart may freeze, or it may burn" (Default)
2015-12-03 04:56 pm

Coursera: Data Management & Visualization Week 1

I am using the Global Digital Activism Data Set v2.0. I chose this dataset because I do work in crisis communications online, and this dataset was the largest study of crises breaking on social media I could find which included coded data (a requirement for this project).

Research question: Is there an association between use of social networks (most commonly Facebook, but could be something more localized like WeChat) and campaign success? Is there an association between microblogging (in most countries microblogging is synonymous with Twitter, but also includes other sites like Sina Weibo) and campaign success?

Hypothesis: There is a positive correlation for both channels.

Variables: Social Networking and Microblogging, and the campaign outcomes variables.  I will probably aggregate the various campaign outcomes variables into one single variable by assigning "full completion," "partial completion," and "did not complete" each a numeric value.

I believe that there will be a positive association for both channels based on the very limited literature available. I searched "digital activism" within Google Books to come up with these results. The original study of this dataset's topline findings show that 99% of all campaigns studied used Facebook, and that Sina Weibo was particularly popular in South Asian companies.  It is difficult to review literature because there is extremely little quantitative work available on digital activism partially because it can be very difficult to develop and study datasets that allow us to compare different social movements (this particular one is unique in that several people were hired to code the data).  People who are using quantitative techniques to power activism such as those employing A/B testing at nonprofits (A review of literature about online activism) are frequently too busy to document their work.  Quantitative studies help us be better campaigners and help us understand what really works, though, not just what we think might work, so it's very important to advance in this area and I hope that my work can contribute to this.


Here is some other literature which is related to the topic but is more qualitative in nature: 

MIT's Global Dimensions of Digital Activism

A book about online activism

Digital Activism Decoded

A study of one particular protest (#SaveDarfur)

A study of interest from the Pew Internet and American Life project

Berkman Center's work on the SOPA-PIPA debate.