Online Collective Action: Dynamics of the Crowd in Social Media
Nitin Agarwal (firstname.lastname@example.org)
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Merlyna Lim (Merlyna.Lim@asu.edu)
Arizona State University
Rolf T. Wigand (email@example.com)
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
To appear under Springer’s Lecture Notes in Social Networks Series
Series Editors: Nasrullah Memon and Reda Alhajj
Aims, Scope, and Purpose of the Book
Social media have played a substantial role in supporting collective actions. In various recent events, from the Arab Spring to the London riots, they are described as important tools for the disparate crowd to communicate, coordinate, and mobilize itself. However, despite the pervasive act of labeling recent events as “Facebook revolution,” “Twitter revolution,” and “BBM riot,” there is very little in-depth research devoted to advance our understanding of online collective actions. Mere journalistic accounts on such actions are inevitably based on anecdotes rather than rigorously designed research. Existing computational studies focusing on capturing and mapping the interactions and issues prevailing in social media manage to identify the manifestations of collective actions. These, however, lack modeling and predictive capabilities. Moreover, such computational theories do not utilize, reflect nor do they leverage findings of long-established sociological studies on collective action and/or social movements.
The study of collective action has a long established history. Collective action is defined as the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by more than one person. More specifically, collective action is any situation in which the uncoordinated actions of each player may not result in the best outcome he or she can achieve. Collectively, however, such combined actions pursuing a goal may be successful, largely due to the power of the group or ‘collective’. Collective Action Theory was originally developed by Ronald Coase in 1937 and later updated by Mancur Olson in 1965; both, however, in the pre-Internet era. The availability of the Internet and social media has made coordination and communication between individuals easier, less costly and less time consuming. The contemporary use of social media, in particular, has unavoidably linked collective behavior with social networks. As individuals and groups become more networked through social media, real-time communication can take place in the vast social network instantaneously. How does this new way of communication influence the formation of collective action? Is there a need to reassess collective action theory to provide deeper insights for successful contemporary collective action efforts leveraging the new way of communication? Are there any fundamental aspects of contemporary collective action efforts that can be identified and explained using existing collective action theory or do we need innovative approaches and methodologies to re-frame and re-conceive collective action theory in online environments?
Intended Contributions of the Book
We aim to bridge the gap between the manifestations of collective action and its fundamental and theoretical aspects in the new information and communication technology (ICT) landscape. We, therefore, invite qualitative and quantitative studies from computational and social sciences focusing on online collective actions promoting a symbiotic and synergistic advancement of the disciplines. More specifically,
– Through this book we intend to illuminate several fundamental and powerful yet theoretically undeveloped aspects of collective action in social media.
– The book will provide an interdisciplinary platform to researchers, practitioners, and graduate students from different disciplines to share, exchange, learn, and develop preliminary results, new concepts, ideas, principles, and methodologies, aiming to advance and deepen our understanding of collective action in social media to help critical decision and policy making.
– The developed methodologies will be a valuable companion and comprehensive reference for anyone interested in newer ICT, examining their role in decision and policy making; understanding the dynamics of interaction, communication, information propagation, and opinion diffusion; and researching in social networks for years to come.
– The book will also serve as an extensive repository of data sets and tools that can be used by researchers leading to a perpetual and synergistic advancement of the discipline.
– The recent advancements in Web 2.0 have provided vast opportunities to investigate the dynamics and structure of web based social networks. The book will facilitate dissemination of these investigations and their outcomes.
Intended Audience of the Book
The target audience for this book will consist of researchers, practitioners, and graduate students from the various disciplines including (but not limited to) sociology, behavioral science, computer science, information science, psychology, cultural study, operations research, political science, and communication/media studies. This is not a college textbook. However, it can be used as a reference text for advanced courses in various interdisciplinary fields such as human-computer interaction, game theory, political communication, social network analysis and mining, organization theory, and social computing, among others.
The edited book welcomes theoretical, analytical, methodological, and empirical contributions, using any kind of research method, including experiments, primary data from social media logs, case studies (national or transnational), simulations, surveys, and so on. Submissions are encouraged on topics that examine the role of the Internet and social media on collective action theory and study the dynamics of the crowd. Some suggested topics are listed below:
– Theory and foundations of collective action in the era of the Internet and social media
– Datasets and methodologies to analyze online dynamics of the crowd at different scales
– Emerging trends, tools, and applications to examine online forms of collective action
– Strategic social interactions in online environments
– Extent and roles of social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) in fueling popular movements
– Online citizen journalism (e.g., blogging journalism)
– Effects of media censorship and its consequences on online collective action
– Online mobilization of public opinion
– E-campaigning and political/social groups
– Online mediation of women related issues
Prospective authors must send a 750 to 1000 words chapter proposal to OCA@asu.edu by September 15, 2011. The proposal should clearly state the objectives of the chapter and highlight the contributions towards the theme of the book. Notifications to all proposers will be sent by October 3, 2011. Authors of the accepted proposals will be requested to submit full chapters by January 16, 2012. Full chapters must be prepared following the Springer manuscript preparation guidelines available at: http://www.springer.com/authors/book+authors/resources?SGWID=0-1723113-12-803304-0. Full chapters will go through a double-blind peer review process. Peer review results will be sent to the authors by April 2, 2012. Final revised chapters will be due by May 30, 2012.
Chapter Proposals Due: September 15, 2011
Notification of Accepted Chapter Proposals: October 3, 2011
Full Chapters Due: January 16, 2012
Peer Review Results: April 2, 2012
Final Revised Chapters Due: May 30, 2012
Please note that all dates correspond to midnight PST.
All inquiries should be directed to OCA@asu.edu.