Strengthening the intellectual foundation for our profession of arms.

Exploring Social Media’s Influence During Conflict and Crisis

November 6th, 2016 by Daniel Armstrong

“I hold it to be of great prudence for men to abstain from threats and insulting words towards any one, for neither the one nor the other in any way diminishes the strength of the enemy; but the one makes him more cautious, and the other increases his hatred of you, and makes him more persevering in his efforts to injure you.” Niccolo Machiavelli

Background

If we take language to be a fundamental component of social networks, Machiavelli’s observation has particular significance in a current context. He highlights the inability to degrade the strength of one’s enemy through words alone; however the power of words could be underestimated within the environment of social media. Within the current technological age, social media provides an excellent platform to project personal views and has the ability to influence an international audience.

Social media can be defined as any online service through which users can create and share a variety of content.[1] Although a myriad of social media has existed from the birth of Gen Y (1981) it was only after 2003 that it was widely adopted. Its popularity, however, extends beyond the limits of Gen Y.[2] This could be associated with the creation of the Social Networking Site (SNS), Facebook. In the broader sense, social media encompasses user-generated services, inclusive of blogs and forums, social networking sites, video sharing sites and online communities whereby consumers have the ability to produce, design, publish, or edit content and disseminate to a wide audience.[3] This paper will demonstrate the influence that social media has played on the international stage and provide examples to illustrate how contemporary issues have been shaped through its application and usage.

Research to date has identified two categories of social media: contribution (posting) or consumption (lurking or observing) and fundamentally suggests that the majority of users consume rather than contribute to social media. [4] [5] [6] On a global scale, there are thousands of Social Networking Sites (SNS) that accommodate a diverse range of interests and practices. These sites differ in their capability to incorporate information and communication tools including mobile connectivity, blogging, and the ability to allow or conduct photo and video sharing.[7]

This paper will discuss the application of social media as an instrument for multi-sector and cross-cultural comment on international issues, through contemporary examples including the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and the revolutionary wave of demonstrations, protests and civil wars that began in the Arab world on 18 December 2010 and became known as the “Arab Spring”. Furthermore, it will provide insight into the effect of social media on public perception of the struggle for democratic reform within the MENA region.

Contemporary application

The growth of internet usage and increased access to social networking has led to a heightened awareness of democratic ideals in a range of cultural and geopolitical contexts.  Perceived parallels with recent democratic revolutions including Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution (1989), Georgia’s Rose Revolution (2003), Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2004), Kyrgyzstan’s Tulip Revolution (2005) and the Saffron Revolution in Burma (2007) have provided additional motivation and inspiration for citizens across the Arab world.[8] The latter examples reinforce the impact and influence that social media has generated more recently to support wider democratic reform within the MENA region.

The recent wave of popular unrest in the Islamic Middle East and North African (MENA) countries has spread across the region through civil resistance, anti-government demonstrations, civil disobedience and riots. The influence of information technology (IT) should not be discounted as a key contributor to unrest within the MENA region, and  Critical Research in Information Systems (CRIS) have been used as a process to investigate the influence of IT within the region.[9] Shirazi states that: “CRIS is a paradigm or worldview that consists of beliefs about physical and social reality (ontology, social relations and human rationality), knowledge (epistemology and methodology) and the relationship between theory and practice for the sake of emancipation.”[10] Furthermore, Shirazi provides insight into the structural contradictions embedded in the social systems of the MENA countries which are inherently anchored in the CRIS.[11]  CRIS fundamentally relates social issues that include power, freedom as well social control and values, against the implementation and influence of information technology. Specifically, the application of social media has been examined widely on the internet, notably through SNS including Facebook and Twitter, as well as other media such as YouTube and various global news agencies. Ultimately, there are consistent trends to indicate that the intensive use of social media networks among citizens of the MENA region has the potential to be an international platform through which silenced and marginalised groups can have their voices heard.[12]

According to Comninos and Haddadi, information and communication technologies inclusive of the internet, social media and mobile phones have played a pivotal role in supporting the fundamental struggle for human rights and democracy within the MENA region.[13] [14] In the preliminary stages of protests associated with the Arab Spring, social media facilitated the initial coordination of the civil population, and was a significant contributor to the achievement of revolutionaries’ objectives. Further analysis shows evidence that attempts by civil authorities to either ban or control the use of these social media proved futile. Niekerk et al identify that social media platforms provided an excellent instrument for the dissemination of news and reasoning in support of the protests in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.[15]

Egypt provides an excellent example: public demonstrations were widely publicised over SNS including Facebook and Twitter. This undisputedly demonstrates that technology is changing the process and impact of the modern protest.[16] While Haddadi argues that social networking has played a role in political, societal and economic developments in the Arab region, but that its contribution to revolutions is an exaggeration, his assertion is contradictory to evidence.[17] The contemporary examples provided here indicate that Haddadi has underplayed the importance of social media and its overall influence: its holistic effect on public opinion, debate and civil conflict is the result of widespread usage of technology throughout the region.

Political censorship and control

Uptake of social media has also been influenced by policies concerning censorship and freedom of expression. The current political climate within the MENA region means that Arab states retain absolute control over radio and television broadcasting, especially land broadcasting. In addition, the states maintain control of the powers that grant licenses to establish satellite transmission corporations or stations, as well as the censorship of all transmissions.[18] Stemming from the power of networking, in addition to the tyranny of isolation, Information Communication and Technology (ICT) has the potential to effect transformative change as well as ‘appearing to’ maintain the status quo through oppression and domination within the region.[19] A ripple effect provides increased access to social media and more specifically the ability to shape international perception of activity within the region through individual contributions to SNS. Furthermore it creates a mechanism for protests to achieve their desired endstates through relatively peaceful mechanisms.

For decades the majority of Arab governments have maintained complete influence and control over information flows within the civil population and have attempted to resist change through preventing access to social media websites, the internet or mobile networks altogether. This has now changed, as Karlesen states: “the concept of technological determinism labels an approach that identifies technology as the central causal element in processes of social change.”[20] [21] The response of the government supports this statement, stating that technology is the central casual element that underpins the overall process of the change.

It is also important to note that technology is a platform that allows access to modern social media which Keck and Sikkink refer to as “transnational advocacy networks”.[22] These networks facilitate access to global dialogue that strengthens and reinforces identity. Keck and Sikkink argue that these ‘virtual’ communities have the ability to be more powerful than face-to-face networks noting the connection is both singular and shared.[23] It is this capacity that respective governments within the MENA region seek to negate and shut down through limiting and/or preventing access to technology. Through their actions, such governments acknowledge the power and audience that can be wielded through access to social media.

In 2007, three years before the Arab Spring, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa observed that the Arab World had been largely unreceptive to the democratic debate and transformation experienced in other regions in the world, with despotic ruling regimes continuing to curb ‘freedom fighters’ despite continued international pressure for democratic reform.[24] Despite continued efforts of these regimes to manage information flows and regulate access to technology, the pursuit of democratic change continued unabated, alongside calls for better access to ICT. This has been further demonstrated by projections that the number of internet users in the Arab world will continue to rise, supported by the introduction of upgrades in ICT infrastructure to overcome poor internet access within the region.[25] This highlights the role of ICT, and social media, in catalysing transformation in conflict hot spots globally.

Carty and Onyett state: “an examination of the role of cyberactivism in the peace movement enhances our understanding of social movements and contentious politics.”[26] When considered in the context of the MENA region, it is relevant to consider the influence of growth and usage with regard to social media. In 2011, the Dubai School of Government published its first report primarily concerning social networks since the Arab Spring.[27] When interrogating the demographics it highlights that young people make up 70 per cent of the Facebook users within the region, and highlights a small increase in the number of users over the age of 30 years. With regard to growth, the report highlights a dramatic increase in usage when figures are compared between 2001 and 2010. The first three months of 2011 demonstrate an evolution of Facebook in the Arab region at a much faster rate than in 2010, strengthening by 29% in the first three months of the year compared to 18% in 2010 over the same period.[28] This fundamentally highlights the increased popularity and application of social media, extending beyond Gen Y users.

Monitoring social media and SNS

The sheer volume of traffic generated by social media is staggering, so it is critical that such traffic can be filtered in order to interpret and subsequently monitor key activities or incidents within an area of unrest, when required. Hattori and Nadamoto provide insight into the difficulty of extracting key information from the sheer volume of data that social media generates.[31] In turn, to investigate mixed and sometimes multiple topics that inherently exist simultaneously in some communities, they designate this important information as “tip information.”[32] The application of this process in the case of the Arab Spring is illustrated through Figure 1 below, where the flow of extracting tip information progresses.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-17-51-am

Figure 1 – Flow of Extracting Tip Information (Hattori, Y. and Nadamoto, A: Tip information from social media based on topic detection, International Journal of Web Information Systems Vol. 9 No. 1, 2013, pp. 83-94.) [33]

This process is primarily underpinned by the proposal outlined by Inui et al regarding experience mining.[34] This seeks to collect instances of personal experiences automatically as well as additional opinions from an extremely large volume of user-generated content including blogs and forum posts from various social media. Aligning this principle to tip information as identified in Figure 1, the user will input a query correlating to the information the user wishes to interrogate. Fundamentally, the system will extract communities from a SNS and subsequently browse the relevant list of communities, with the user selecting an available community from the list. Additionally, the system extracts comments from the 20 threads of the respective community and detects topics from those threads and has the ability for clustering comments using Latent Dirichlet Allocation, commonly referred to as LDA.[35] Specific to these clusters, actual experience sentences can be extracted as well as tip information from the actual experience sentences using a tip keyword dictionary. This in turn allows the ability to browse the tip information based on each cluster.[36]

Data mining fundamentally searches for hidden patterns and relationships correlations, in addition to interdependencies that exist within large databases that the traditional information gathering methods (inclusive of graph generation, user querying, report creation, or decision support systems) may fail to notice.[37] Aligned with the processes underpinning tip information discussed by Hattori is the theory of diffusion. The structure of various social networks performs a vital role in the formation of opinions, and diffusion seeks to explain the spread of these opinions.[38] Specifically, the structure is comprised of varying communication relationships within social networks that form the opinions which are influenced by the manner in which various players interact with one another within online forums. To accurately assess the formation of opinions within social networks, the requirement exists to evaluate the user’s opinion and the visible communication relationships.[39] To support this, an approach has been developed that consolidates previous research by Bodendorf and Kaiser (2009) and analyses the process of opinion formation within online forums through two stages aligned to Figure 2: social network extraction and social network analysis.[40]

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-17-41-am

Figure 2 – Social networking mining approach (Kaiser, C. and Bodendorf, F: Mining consumer dialogue in online forums, Internet Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, 2012, p. 280)[41]

In terms of general composition, networks consist of a numerous nodes and edges with the edges interlinking the nodes, both of which can be characterised by attributes. Within the example in figure 2, the nodes represent the users within the forum and the edges denote their respective communication relationships.[42] With regard to attributes, the nodes illustrate the users’ opinions on a specific issue with the edges denoting the intention of the communication in the form of dialog acts. The opinions, relationships and dialog acts are identified by text mining.[43] In figure 2, the first step requires the existence of users, opinions, relationships and dialog acts in order to allow extraction. In the second step, the social network as a whole is analysed with respect to the position of the users within the respective online forum or social network and related to the overall structure. These steps enable the identification of influential users and opinion tendencies.[44]

With regard to the process of opinion formation, the aforementioned approach differs from previous research in two ways. In contrast to the earlier work of Bodendorf and Kaiser (2009) where dialog acts are extracted and employed for characterising communication relationships in order to identify different types of influential users as well as allow the detection of tendencies of users more efficiently.[45] Furthermore, additional mining methods are applied and examined which inherently provides opportunities for validation in a broader manner; it also provides insight into the selection of the most appropriate method with regard to the issue.

Strategic application of data mining

In recent times, Twitter and other SNS have become extremely popular in many Arab countries, especially following the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Of note, the number of Twitter users within Saudi Arabia was hovering around 115,000 in mid-2011 but tripled in number to exceed 390,000 in April 2012.[46] The increased number of Twitter users was evidenced by new features targeting Arabic language speakers, namely the introduction of Arabic hashtags: a catalyst that significantly enhanced the usage of Twitter by all ages within Saudi Arabia and in the wider Arab region.[47]

Although there are an increasingly large number of Arabic speakers using Twitter, there is still a void in researchers’ ability to apply social network analysis techniques to understand and analyse the dynamics of social networks themselves, within the Arab region. In a previous study conducted by Al-Khalifa in 2011, prominent hashtags were analysed over the period of 12 through 20 August 2011. Specifically, the hashtags were concerned with the case of arrested Saudi citizens, the Saudi terror law and the King’s speech regarding the Syria situation. Subsequently the study demonstrated the interactive potential of Twitter among the Saudi community.[48] Current research regarding new hashtags over the period from 16 through 21 June 2012 isolated two key political events within Saudi Arabia. The first was the death of the Crown Prince, with the second being the subsequent appointment of the new Crown Prince being the Minister of Defense. Within the realm of Twitter, popular hashtags that were used to discuss these political issues were collected, filtered and subsequently selected purely based on the political interest of Saudi citizens.[49] In order to consolidate and store these popular hashtags Twitter established an account called HashKSA which acted as the repository for the hashtags within the Saudi community. A key point, which is apparent, is that during the conduct of the research no English hashtags were used, and the research focussed purely on the Arabic hashtags due to their prominence in the region.[50] The key outcome from the research demonstrates the ability to tailor social network analysis to specific incidents or events within a targeted region. This would ideally extend the military implementation within volatile regions, and be tailored to focus on terror related activities and/or civil unrest for peace keeping endeavours.

In broad terms, SNS and social media have been used to critique diverse incidents both relating to humanitarian endeavours, conflict and acts of terror. Supporting this, a number of scholars have confirmed that social media has been used as a primary means of communication in crisis situations and emergencies including the Mumbai attacks in India in 2008, the Iranian election in 2009 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.[51] Leggio cites the Mumbai attacks in India as an example identifying that firsthand accounts were seen on Twitter and Flikr on November 26, 2008 and other various SNS.[52]  Furthermore, humanitarian support requirements were communicated via SNS near the sites of the attacks to identify shared locations where blood was required, and provide updates regarding the health of family and friends. Additionally, key updates were given regarding the location of police as well as the suspected terrorists.[53] This example highlights the ability for SNS and social media to rapidly disseminate information regarding both humanitarian endeavours as well as the locations of key personnel in times of crisis.

Conclusion

This paper has discussed the application of social media primarily within the context of the Arab Spring as well as the Mumbai attacks. The arguments concerning the contribution of social and SNS to the Arab Spring have been analysed as well as the extant policy and censorship that remains within current Arab states. The discussion with regard to the growth and use of social media within the MENA region demonstrates the willingness of local citizens to pursue democratic reform, contrary to the perceived current intent for political reform within the region. This, coupled with the potential for technological improvements within the region and access to the internet, as well as mobile media, undoubtedly reinforces and aids citizens’ and activists’ endeavours for democratic reform.

This paper has demonstrated the potential processes that can be implemented in extracting key information from social media to both identify and monitor potential international hot spots within volatile regions. Contemporary humanitarian examples, such as the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, have been provided to demonstrate the influence of social media in the coordination of aid as well as the provision of key information feeds regarding hostile locations and police activity. Without doubt, the application and influence of social media has become overwhelming in the contemporary age as a medium for both managing and responding to international issues.

Exposure to social media has also influenced, facilitated and shaped humanitarian responses to conflict within the MENA region. The ability to access and contribute to SNS has never been more popular, influencing and generating democratic reform.


About the author

Dan Armstrong is an Australian Army officer and has undertaken staff, training and command appointments. He has completed multiple tours to the Middle East and holds a Masters in Business from the University of New South Wales.


Endnotes

[1] Bolton, R. Parasuraman, A. Hoefnagels, A. Migchels, N. Kabadayi, A. Gruber, T. Loureiro, Y. and Solnet, D: Understanding Generation Y and their use of social media: a review and research agenda, Journal of Service Management, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2013, pp. 245-267

[2] Boyd, D.M. and Ellison, N.B: Social network sites: definition, history and scholarship, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 13, 2008, pp. 210-230

[3] Krishnamurthy, S. and Dou, W: Advertising with user-generated content: a framework and research agenda, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 8 No. 2, 2008, pp. 1-7

[4] Schlosser, A.E: Posting versus lurking: communication in a multiple audience context, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 32 No. 2, 2005, pp. 260-265

[5] Shao, G: Understanding the appeal of user-generated media: a uses and gratification perspective, Internet Research, Vol. 19 No. 1, 2009, pp. 7-25

[6] Jones, Q., Ravid, G. and Rafaeli, S: Information overload and the message dynamics of online interaction spaces, Information Systems Research, Vol. 15 No. 2, 2004, pp. 194-210.

[7] Mansour, E: The role of social networking sites (SNSs) in the January 25th Revolution in Egypt, Library Review Vol. 61 No. 2, 2012, pp. 128-159

[8] Shirazi, F: Social media and the social movements in the Middle East and North Africa A critical discourse analysis, Information Technology & People, Vol. 26 No. 1, 2013, pp. 28-49

[9]  Ibid p. 28

[10] Ibid p. 29

[11] Shirazi, F: Social media and the social movements in the Middle East and North Africa A critical discourse analysis, Information Technology & People, Vol. 26 No. 1, 2013, pp. 28-49

[12] Ibid p. 28

[13] Comninos, A: Twitter revolutions and cyber crackdowns user-generated content and social networking in the Arab Spring and beyond, available at: www.apc.org/en/system/files/AlexComninos_MobileInternet.pdf (accessed 19 June 2011)

[14] Haddadi, A. 30 June 2011, Did social networks like Facebook and Twitter really influence the Arab Spring?, International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/172268/20110630/did-social-networks-like-facebook-and-twitter-really-influence-the-arab-spring.htm, viewed on 31 August  2013

[15] Niekerk, B., Pillay, K. and Maharaj, M: Analyzing the role of ICTs in the Tunisian and Egyptian unrest from an information warfare perspective, International Journal of Communication, Vol. 5, 2011, pp. 1406-16.

[16] Richardson, J. and Brantmeier, E: The role of ICTs in conflict transformation in Egypt, Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues Vol. 5 No. 4, 2012, pp. 254-266

[17] Haddadi, A. 30 June 2011, Did social networks like Facebook and Twitter really influence the Arab Spring?, International Business Times,http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/172268/20110630/did-social-networks-like-facebook-and-twitter-really-influence-the-arab-spring.htm, viewed on 31 August  2013

[18] UNECA (2007), Media in North Africa: Obstacles and Challenges, final report of a conference held at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 13-14 January, available at: www.uneca. org/africanmedia/documents/NorthAfrica-eng-report.pdf (accessed 21 May 2012)

[19] Richardson, J and Brantmeier, E: The role of ICTs in conflict transformation in Egypt, Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 5 No. 4, 2012, pp. 254-266

[20] Haddadi, A. 30 June 2011, Did social networks like Facebook and Twitter really influence the Arab Spring?, International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/172268/20110630/did-social-networks-like-facebook-and-twitter-really-influence-the-arab-spring.htm, viewed on 31 August  2013

[21] Karlesen, R: Does new media technology drive election campaign change?, Information Polity, Vol. 15, 2010, pp. 215-25.

[22] Keck, M. and Sikkink, K: Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, 1998, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

[23] Ibid

[24] UNECA (2007), Media in North Africa: Obstacles and Challenges, final report of a conference held at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 13-14 January, available at: www.uneca. org/africanmedia/documents/NorthAfrica-eng-report.pdf (accessed 21 May 2012)

[25] Abdelhay, N: The Arab uprising 2011: new media in the hands of a new generation in North Africa, Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, Vol. 64 No. 5, 2012, pp. 529-539

[26] Carty, V. and Onyett, J.: Protest, cyberactivism and new social movements: the re-emergence of the peace movement post 9/11, Social Movement Studies, Vol. 4 No. 3, 2006, pp. 229-49.

[27] Haddadi, A. 30 June 2011, Did social networks like Facebook and Twitter really influence the Arab Spring?, International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/172268/20110630/did-social-networks-like-facebook-and-twitter-really-influence-the-arab-spring.htm, viewed on 31 August  2013

[28] Ibid

[29] Ip Iam-Chong: Social Media Uprising in the Chinese-speaking World, 9F 365 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2011

[30] Ip Iam-Chong: Social Media Uprising in the Chinese-speaking World, 9F 365 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2011

[31] Hattori, Y. and Nadamoto, A: Tip information from social media based on topic detection, International Journal of Web Information Systems Vol. 9 No. 1, 2013, pp. 83-94

[32] Ibid, p. 85

[33] Ibid, p. 85

[34] Inui, K. Abe, S. Morita, H. Eguchi, M. Sumida, A. Sao, C. Hara, K. Murakami, K. and Matsuyoshi, S: Experience mining: building a large-scale database of personal experiences and opinions from web documents, Proceedings of 49th 2008 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, 2008, pp. 314-21.

[35] Hattori, Y. and Nadamoto, A: Tip information from social media based on topic detection, International Journal of Web Information Systems Vol. 9 No. 1, 2013, pp. 83-94

[36] Ibid, p. 84

[37] Gargano, M. and Raggad, B: Data mining- a powerful information creating tool, OCLC Systems & Services, Volume 15, Number 2, 1999, pp. 81–90

[38] Rogers, E.M.: Diffusion of Innovations, 5th ed., 2003, The Free Press, New York, NY.

[39] Kaiser, C. and Bodendorf, F: Mining consumer dialogue in online forums, Internet Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, 2012, pp. 275-297

[40] Bodendorf, F. and Kaiser, C: Detecting opinion leaders and trends in online social networks, Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Social Web Search and Mining, 2009, Hong Kong

[41] Kaiser, C. and Bodendorf, F: Mining consumer dialogue in online forums, Internet Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, 2012, p. 280

[42] Ibid

[43] Kaiser, C. and Bodendorf, F: Mining consumer dialogue in online forums, Internet Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, 2012, p. 280

[44] Ibid

[45] Ibid

[46] Dubai School of Government (2011), Arab Social Media Report, available at: www.dsg.fohmics.net/en/asmr3/ASMRHome3.aspx (accessed March 26, 2012)

[47] Al-Khalifa, H: A first step towards understanding Saudi political activities on Twitter, International Journal of Web, Information Systems Vol. 8 No. 4, 2012, pp. 390-400

[48] Ibid p. 393

[49] Ibid pp. 393-394

[50] Ibid p. 393

[51] Mansour, E: The role of social networking sites (SNSs) in the January 25th Revolution in Egypt, Library Review Vol. 61 No. 2, 2012, pp. 128-159

[52] Leggio, J. (2008): Mumbai attack coverage demonstrates (good and bad) maturation point of social media, ZDNet, 28 November, Available at: www.zdnet.com/blog/feeds/mumbai-attackcoveragedemonstrates-good-and-bad-maturation-point-of-social-media/339 (accessed 17 February 2011)

[53] Ibid



References

Abdelhay, N: The Arab uprising 2011: new media in the hands of a new generation in North Africa, Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, Vol. 64 No. 5, 2012, pp. 529-539.

Al-Khalifa, H: A first step towards understanding Saudi political activities on Twitter, International Journal of Web, Information Systems Vol. 8 No. 4, 2012, pp. 390-400.

Bodendorf, F. and Kaiser, C: Detecting opinion leaders and trends in online social networks, Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Social Web Search and Mining, 2009, Hong Kong.

Bolton, R. Parasuraman, A. Hoefnagels, A. Migchels, N. Kabadayi, A. Gruber, T. Loureiro, Y. and Solnet, D: Understanding Generation Y and their use of social media: a review and research agenda, Journal of Service Management, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2013, pp. 245-267.

Boyd, D.M. and Ellison, N.B: Social network sites: definition, history and scholarship, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 13, 2008, pp. 210-230.

Carty, V. and Onyett, J.: Protest, cyberactivism and new social movements: the re-emergence of the peace movement post 9/11, Social Movement Studies, Vol. 4 No. 3, 2006, pp. 229-49.

Comninos, A: Twitter revolutions and cyber crackdowns user-generated content and social networking in the Arab Spring and beyond, available at: www.apc.org/en/system/files/AlexComninos_MobileInternet.pdf (accessed 19 June 2011)

Dubai School of Government (2011), Arab Social Media Report, available at: www.dsg.fohmics.net/en/asmr3/ASMRHome3.aspx (accessed March 26, 2012)

Gargano, M. and Raggad, B: Data mining- a powerful information creating tool, OCLC Systems & Services, Volume 15, Number 2, 1999, pp. 81–90.

Haddadi, A. 30 June 2011, Did social networks like Facebook and Twitter really influence the Arab Spring?, International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/172268/20110630/did-social-networks-like-facebook-and-twitter-really-influence-the-arab-spring.htm, viewed on 31 August  2013.

Hattori, Y. and Nadamoto, A: Tip information from social media based on topic detection, International Journal of Web Information Systems Vol. 9 No. 1, 2013, pp. 83-94.

Inui, K. Abe, S. Morita, H. Eguchi, M. Sumida, A. Sao, C. Hara, K. Murakami, K. and Matsuyoshi, S: Experience mining: building a large-scale database of personal experiences and opinions from web documents, Proceedings of 49th 2008 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, 2008, pp. 314-21.

Ip Iam-Chong: Social Media Uprising in the Chinese-speaking World, 9F 365 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2011.

Jones, Q., Ravid, G. and Rafaeli, S: Information overload and the message dynamics of online interaction spaces, Information Systems Research, Vol. 15 No. 2, 2004, pp. 194-210.

Kaiser, C. and Bodendorf, F: Mining consumer dialogue in online forums, Internet Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, 2012, pp. 275-297.

Karlesen, R: Does new media technology drive election campaign change?, Information Polity, Vol. 15, 2010, pp. 215-25.

Keck, M. and Sikkink, K: Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, 1998, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Krishnamurthy, S. and Dou, W: Advertising with user-generated content: a framework and research agenda, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 8 No. 2, 2008, pp. 1-7.

Leggio, J. (2008): Mumbai attack coverage demonstrates (good and bad) maturation point of social media, ZDNet, 28 November, Available at: www.zdnet.com/blog/feeds/mumbai-attackcoveragedemonstrates-good-and-bad-maturation-point-of-social-media/339 (accessed 17 February 2011)

Mansour, E: The role of social networking sites (SNSs) in the January 25th Revolution in Egypt, Library Review Vol. 61 No. 2, 2012, pp. 128-159

Niekerk, B., Pillay, K. and Maharaj, M: Analyzing the role of ICTs in the Tunisian and Egyptian unrest from an information warfare perspective, International Journal of Communication, Vol. 5, 2011, pp. 1406-16.

Richardson, J. and Brantmeier, E: The role of ICTs in conflict transformation in Egypt, Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues Vol. 5 No. 4, 2012, pp. 254-266.

Schlosser, A.E: Posting versus lurking: communication in a multiple audience context, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 32 No. 2, 2005, pp. 260-265.

Shao, G: Understanding the appeal of user-generated media: a uses and gratification perspective, Internet Research, Vol. 19 No. 1, 2009, pp. 7-25.

Shirazi, F: Social media and the social movements in the Middle East and North Africa A critical discourse analysis, Information Technology & People, Vol. 26 No. 1, 2013, pp. 28-49.

UNECA (2007), Media in North Africa: Obstacles and Challenges, final report of a conference held at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 13-14 January, available at: www.uneca. org/africanmedia/documents/NorthAfrica-eng-report.pdf (accessed 21 May 2012)


Disclaimer

Grounded Curiosity is a platform to spark debate, focused on junior commanders. The views expressed do not reflect any official position or that of any of the author’s employers – see more here.

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