Understanding digitally networked action. A case study of #HomeToVote and the Irish abortion referendum 2018
ISSN der Zeitschrift
Digitally networked action (Bennett & Segerberg, 2012) has become a prominent political reality. This article explores the evolution of digitally networked action, considering the Twitter hashtag #HomeToVote in 2018 as a relevant case. The case study features the return of Irish expatriates to their home country to vote in the referendum on abortion rights, since no postal votes were available to Irish citizens abroad. We investigated how actors participated in digitally networked action on Twitter, viewed from three perspectives: composition, diffusion, and dynamics. Through an @-mention network with 7,373 edges and 5,198 nodes, built on all original tweets (N = 33,927) about #HomeToVote, we interpreted the digitally networked action based on social interaction and information distribution between and beyond categorized subgroups of actors during four phases. The early phases of #HomeToVote are related to engagement and mobilization, while the latter phases are associated with experience sharing and solidarity declaration. Throughout the development of #HomeToVote, individuals and organizational actors show collective endeavors to promote digitally networked action, while media actors use Twitter to consistently depict moments of #HomeToVote. The findings suggest that #HomeToVote, as an organizationally enabled advocacy network, has a large political capacity to share communication linkages, facilitate flexible affiliations, and employ personalized engagement mechanisms.