The dynamics of protest-related diffusion on the web

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48 Scopus citations


Drawing on several larger literatures on diffusion processes, including literatures on the diffusion of innovations, disease spread, and the diffusion of information, this paper examines the classes of diffusion processes that may be relevant to understanding online protest and social movements. The author also argues that one commonly studied type of online, protest-related diffusion process - the online diffusion of information - has only minor theoretical implications for social movement theory. Two other diffusion processes - the diffusion of online, protest-related innovations and the diffusion of protest in its many forms as a problem-solving heuristic to new populations - are likely to qualitatively alter other (non-diffusion) social movement processes, creating important second-order, theoretical effects from these types of diffusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Contentious politics
  • Diffusion
  • Internet
  • Online protest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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