A Model of Crowd Enabled Organization: Theory and Methods for Understanding the Role of Twitter in the Occupy Protests

Sheetal D. Agarwal, W. Lance Bennett, Courtney N. Johnson, Shawn Walker


This analysis establishes a conceptual framework, empirical criteria, and measures for deciding when technology-equipped crowd networks such as Occupy Wall Street behave as organizations. The framework is based on three principles that underlie most organizations: (1) resource mobilization; (2) responsiveness to short-term external conditions; and (3) coordinated long-term change, adaptation, or decline. We argue that Twitter played a coordinating role in Occupy as a connector and dynamic switching mechanism linking various networks. We develop methods for tracking how users embedded and shared links to resource locations. Using a database of some 60 million tweets, we examine different types of links distributed through different hashtags across time, showing how Occupy operated along each theoretical dimension as a networked organization.



Occupy, Twitter, networks, networked organization, collective action, big data

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