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THIS PROTEST WILL BE TWEETED

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This article examines the use of Twitter at protests surrounding the G20 meetings held in Pittsburgh, PA in September 2009. Based on work on information communication technologies and protest, and on more recent work on Twitter usage at protests, we develop several hypotheses about the content of tweets during protests. Most significantly, we argue that Twitter is a widely available mobile social networking tool that can be used to reduce information asymmetries between protesters and police. Examining the content of 30,296 tweets over a nine-day period, we find that protesters frequently used Twitter to share information, including information about protest locations, as well as the location and actions of police, which is information that was formerly monopolized by the police. Twitter use may be creating a new dynamic in protester and police interaction toward information symmetries. We conclude by identifying implications for policing practices and for protesters.
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Keywords: Twitter; information asymmetry; protest; protest policing; repression

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Sociology, Social Sciences 400, P.O. Box 210027Tucson,AZ,85721-0027, USA 2: [email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink _contents"> Department of Sociology, 3005 SSMS Building,University of California, Santa Barbara,CA,93106-9430, USA< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink 3: email:[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink _contents"> Criminology Law and Society,School of Social Ecology, 2340 Social Ecology IIIrvine,CA,92697-7080, USA< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="email:">email:[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink 4: [email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink _contents"> Campus Alcorta, Av. Figueroa Alcorta 7350, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires1425, Argentina< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink 5: [email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink_contents"> School of Sociology, Social Sciences 400, P.O. Box 210027Tucson,AZ,85721-0027, USA< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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