As a CITP fellow last year, one of my goals was to get a new project on digital activism off the ground. With support from the US Institutes of Peace and a distributed network of researchers we pulled together an event dataset of hundreds of instances where people tried using information and communication technologies to achieve political goals. The Digital Activism project launched.
The research team analyzed some 1,200 cases of digital activism worldwide, including some 400 cases from the past three years. First, we defined activism as efforts not just at regime change, but campaigns for policy changes at all levels of government. Second, we made sure this was a truly global sample – going far beyond the best-known cases that both sides in this debate had cited. Our initial research in this Digital Activism Research Project showed us how much more work can and should be done, one particular trend was apparent right away.