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An analysis of the Gezi Park social movement tweets

Selcen Ozturkcan (Faculty of Communication, Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)
Nihat Kasap (School of Management, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Muge Cevik (School of Management, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Tauhid Zaman (School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 17 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Twitter usage during Gezi Park Protests, a significant large-scale connective action, is analyzed to reveal meaningful findings on individual and group tweeting characteristics. Subsequent to the Arab Spring in terms of its timing, the Gezi Park Protests began by the spread of news on construction plans to build a shopping mall at a public park in Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 26, 2013. Though started as a small-scale local protest, it emerged into a series of multi-regional social protests, also known as the Gezi Park demonstrations. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors sought answers to three important research questions: whether Twitter usage is reflective of real life events, what Twitter is actually used for, and is Twitter usage contagious? The authors have collected streamed data from Twitter. As a research methodology, the authors followed social media analytics framework proposed by Fan and Gordon (2014), which included three consecutive processes; capturing, understanding, and presenting. An analysis of 54 million publicly available tweets and 3.5 million foursquare check-ins, which account to randomly selected 1 percent of all tweets and check-ins posted from Istanbul, Turkey between March and September 2013 are presented.

Findings

A perceived lack of sufficient media coverage on events taking place on the streets is believed to result in Turkish protestors’ use of Twitter as a medium to share and get information on ongoing and planned demonstrations, to learn the recent news, to participate in the debate, and to create local and global awareness.

Research limitations/implications

Data collection via streamed tweets comes with certain limitations. Twitter restricts data collection on publicly available tweets and only allows randomly selected 1 percent of all tweets posted from a specific region. Therefore, the authors’ data include only tweets of publicly available Twitter profiles. The generalizability of the findings should be regarded with concerning this limitation.

Practical implications

The authors conclude that Twitter was used mainly as a platform to exchange information to organize street demonstrations.

Originality/value

The authors conclude that Twitter usage reflected Street movements on a chronological level. Finally, the authors present that Twitter usage is contagious whereas tweeting is not necessarily.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Turgay Kadiroğlu (Software Consultant, Bilge Adam IT Services); Ozan Uysal (PhD Student, Dogus University), and Eda Aylin Genç (PhD Student, Istanbul Bilgi University) for their invaluable support.

Citation

Ozturkcan, S., Kasap, N., Cevik, M. and Zaman, T. (2017), "An analysis of the Gezi Park social movement tweets", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 69 No. 4, pp. 426-440. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-03-2017-0064

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited