Tweeting the Revolution: Social Media Use and the #Euromaidan protests

To better understand how social media is used in a protest setting, we collect data from the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine and find that social media provides a space to share information, as well as mobilize offline organization.

Summary

Starting on November 25th, we began collecting Twitter data of the Euromaidan protests. Almost three months later, our dataset contains more than 3.6 million tweets. What can we learn from the Ukrainian case about the use of social media in protest and the dynamics of previous protests that utilized social media?

We find that online information distribution, specifically on Facebook, serves a dual purpose of providing information and helping to coordinate efforts on the ground. The protests show that social media users strategically adapt the tools available to them to the situation on the ground as well as to the local social media context. In a country where Twitter is less used than Facebook, organizers employed Facebook as a tool for informational exchange and strategic planning, as well as to mobilize needed resources and to fill gaps or supplement on the ground strategies.