Bridging the virtual and real: The relationship between web content, linkage, and geographical proximity of social movements

Victor Benjamin, Hsinchun Chen, David Zimbra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


As the Internet becomes ubiquitous, it has advanced to more closely represent aspects of the real world. Due to this trend, researchers in various disciplines have become interested in studying relationships between real-world phenomena and their virtual representations. One such area of emerging research seeks to study relationships between real-world and virtual activism of social movement organization (SMOs). In particular, SMOs holding extreme social perspectives are often studied due to their tendency to have robust virtual presences to circumvent real-world social barriers preventing information dissemination. However, many previous studies have been limited in scope because they utilize manual data-collection and analysis methods. They also often have failed to consider the real-world aspects of groups that partake in virtual activism. We utilize automated data-collection and analysis methods to identify significant relationships between aspects of SMO virtual communities and their respective real-world locations and ideological perspectives. Our results also demonstrate that the interconnectedness of SMO virtual communities is affected specifically by aspects of the real world. These observations provide insight into the behaviors of SMOs within virtual environments, suggesting that the virtual communities of SMOs are strongly affected by aspects of the real world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2210-2222
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • collaboration
  • human computer interaction
  • knowledge discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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