A temporal comparison of environmental Twitter networks over the transition between US political Administrations.

Frederic Heaume, Dana Fisher, Lorien Jasny, Iain Weaver

Contact: frederic.heaume@outlook.com

Social movements literature has long observed a behaviour described by the convergence and the building of coalitions of different movements under periods of hardship or struggle. This principle, however, has barely been explored in online-based social movements using mediums such as Twitter. In this presentation, we examine the evolution of two samples of environmental Twitter networks over the transition from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. One sample was gathered from the Policy Elite dataset used in previous research, and the second consists of organizations that cosponsored the 2018 People’s Climate March. While the nature of their activities and audiences differ (activism/policy), the organisations of the two networks share a common interest for environmental preservation and the spread of climate related information. Given the shift in political paradigm, social movement theorists would suggest that each movement, as a self-sustaining platform, would engage defence mechanisms in order to stay sustainable. Our analysis will use temporal measures of community detection, reciprocity, brokerage and closure to get insights as to how the online networks react and engage both within and between samples over time.

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