Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy

  • Benjamin T. Jones and Eleonora Mattiacci
Abstract

Can rebel organizations in a civil conflict use social media to garner international support? This article argues that the use of social media is a unique form of public diplomacy through which rebels project a favorable image to gain that support. It analyzes the Libyan civil war, during which rebels invested considerable resources in diplomatic efforts to gain US support. The study entails collecting original data, and finds that rebel public diplomacy via Twitter increases co-operation with the rebels when their message (1) clarifies the type of regime they intend to create and (2) emphasizes the atrocities perpetrated by the government. Providing rebels with an important tool of image projection, social media can affect dynamics in an ever more connected international arena.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi (email: btjones1@olemiss.edu); Department of Political Science, Amherst College (email: emattiacci@amherst.edu). Author names appear in alphabetical order; the authors contributed equally to the process. Previous versions of this article benefited from presentations at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois. We would also like to thank Susan Allen, Bear Braumoeller, Jeff Carter, Bridget Coggins, Michael Colaresi, Matthew DiGiuseppe, Rex Douglas, Tanisha Fazal, Reyko Huang, Hyeran Jo, Morgan Kaplan, Joshua Kertzer, Joakim Kreutz, Irfan Nooruddin, Tim Nordstrom, Jonathan Obert, Heather Ondercin, Jon Western, Thomas Zeitzoff, the editor and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS and online appendices are available at https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123416000612.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Aday, Sean, Farrell, Henry, Lynch, Marc, Sides, John, and Freelon, Deen. 2012. New Media and Conflict After the Arab Spring. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace.
Aydin, Aysegul, and Regan, Patrick M.. 2011. Networks of Third-Party Interveners and Civil War Duration. European Journal of International Relations 18 (3):573597.
Balch-Lindsay, Dylan, Enterline, Andrew J., and Joyce, Kyle A.. 2008. Third-Party Intervention and the Civil War Process. Journal of Peace Research 45 (3):345363.
Baum, Matthew A., and Groeling, Tim. 2010. Reality Asserts Itself: Public Opinion on Iraq and the Elasticity of Reality. International Organization 64 (3):443479.
Benford, Robert D., and Snow, David A.. 2000. Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment. Annual Review of Sociology 26 (1):611639.
Bob, Clifford. 2001. Marketing Rebellion: Insurgent Groups, International Media, and NGO Support. International Politics 38 (3):311334.
Brandt, Patrick, Colaresi, Michael, and Freeman, John. 2008. The Dynamics of Reciprocity, Accountability, and Credibility. Journal of Conflict Resolution 52 (3):343374.
Brandt, Patrick T., and Williams, John T.. 2007. Multiple Time Series Models, No. 148. New York: Sage.
Clinton, Hillary Rodham. 2014. Hard Choices. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Coggins, Bridget. 2011. Friends in High Places: International Politics and the Emergence of States from Secessionism. International Organization 65 (3):433467.
Coggins, Bridget. 2015. Rebel Diplomacy: Theorizing Violent Non-State Actors’ Strategic Use of Talk. In Rebel Governance in Civil War, edited by Ana Arjona, Nelson Kasfir and Zachariah Mampilly, 98118. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Colaresi, Michael. 2012. A Boom with Review: How Retrospective Oversight Increases the Foreign Policy Ability of Democracies. American Journal of Political Science 56 (3):671689.
Corbetta, Renato. 2010. Determinants of Third Parties’ Intervention and Alignment Choices in Ongoing Conflicts, 1946–2001. Foreign Policy Analysis 6 (1):6185.
Cull, Nicholas J. 2013. The Long Road to Public Diplomacy 2.0. International Studies Review 15 (1):123139.
Cunningham, David E., Gleditsch, Kristian S., and Salehyan, Idean. 2009. It Takes Two: A Dyadic Analysis of Civil War Duration and Outcome. Journal of Conflict Resolution 53 (4):570597.
Della Porta, Donatella, and Mosca, Lorenzo. 2005. Global-Net for Global Movements? A Network of Networks for a Movement of Movements. Journal of Public Policy 25 (1):165190.
DeYoung, Karen, and Jaffe, Greg. 2011. NATO Runs Short on Some Munitions in Libya. The Washington Post, 15 April. Available from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nato-runs-short-on-some-munitions-in-libya/2011/04/15/AF3O7ElD_story.html, accessed 20 March 2014.
Drezner, Daniel, and Farrell, Henry. 2008. Blogs, Politics and Power. Public Choice 134 (1–2):113.
Enders, Walter. 2008. Applied Econometric Time Series. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Fazal, Tanisha. 2013. Secessionism and Civilian Targeting. Unpublished Manuscript.
Foss, Amund Bakke. 2012. The Libyan Rebellion: With Media as a Weapon. Oslo: University of Oslo.
Fung, Archon, Russon, Hollie, and Shkabatur, Jennifer. 2013. Six Models for the Internet+Politics. International Studies Review 15 (1):3047.
Garrett, Kelly. 2006. Protest in an Information Society. Information, Communication & Society 9 (2):202224.
Gates, Robert M. 2014. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. New York: Knopf.
Gent, Stephen E. 2008. Going in When it Counts: Military Intervention and the Outcome of Civil Conflicts. International Studies Quarterly 52:713735.
Gilboa, Eytan. 2005. Global Television News and Foreign Policy: Debating the CNN Effect. International Studies Perspectives 6 (3):325341.
Goldstein, Joshua S., and Freeman, John R.. 1991. US-Soviet-Chinese Relations: Routine, Reciprocity, or Rational Expectations? American Political Science Review 85 (1):1735.
Hayes, Danny, and Guardino, Matt. 2011. The Influence of Foreign Voices on U.S. Public Opinion. American Journal of Political Science 55 (4):830850.
Hegre, Håvard, and Sambanis, Nicholas. 2006. Sensitivity Analysis of Empirical Results on Civil War Onset. Journal of Conflict Resolution 50 (4):508535.
Hermida, Alfred. 2010. Twittering the News: The Emergence of Ambient Journalism. Journalism Practice 4 (3):297308.
Huang, Reyko. 2016. Rebel Diplomacy in Civil War. International Security 40 (4):89126.
Jo, Hyeran. 2015. Compliant Rebels. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Jones, Benjamin T. Forthcoming. Altering Capabilities or Imposing Costs? Intervention Strategy and Civil War Outcomes. International Studies Quarterly.
Kalyvas, Stathis. 2006. The Logic of Violence in Civil Wars. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Kaplan, Morgan. 2016. Persuading Power: Insurgent Diplomacy and the International Politics of Rebellion, PhD Dissertation, University of Chicago.
Keck, Margaret E., and Sikkink, Kathryn. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Kwak, Haewoon, Lee, Changhyun, Park, Hosung, and Moon, Sue. 2010. What is Twitter, A Social Network or a News Media? Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, 591–600.
Kydd, Andrew, and Walter, Barbara F.. 2002. Sabotaging the Peace: The Politics of Extremist Violence. International Organization 56 (2):263296.
Leetaru, Kalev, Wang, Shaowen, Cao, Guofeng, Padmanabhan, Anand, and Shook, Eric. 2013. Mapping the Global Twitter Heartbeat: The Geography of Twitter. First Monday 18 (5). doi: 10.5210/fm.v18i5.4366.
Livingston, Steven, and Asmolov, Gregory. 2010. Networks and the Future of Foreign Affairs Reporting. Journalism Studies 11 (5):745760.
Lotan, Gilad, Graeff, Erhardt, Ananny, Mike, Gaffney, Devin, Pearce, Ian, and Boyd, Danah. 2011. The Revolutions Were Tweeted: Information Flows During the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions. International Journal of Communication 31 (5):13751405.
McFarland, Sam, and Mathews, Melissa. 2005. Do Americans Care About Human Rights? Journal of Human Rights 4 (3):305319.
McGarty, Craig, Thomas, Emma F., Lala, Girish, Smith, Laura G. E., and Bliuc, Ana-Maria. 2014. New Technologies, New Identities, and the Growth of Mass Opposition in the Arab Spring. Political Psychology 36 (5):725740.
Rathbun, Brian C. 2014. Diplomacy’s Value: Creating Security in 1920s Europe and the Contemporary Middle East. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Regan, Patrick M. 1996. Conditions of Successful Third-Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflicts. The Journal of Conflict Resolution 40 (2):336359.
Regan, Patrick M.. 2000. Civil Wars and Foreign Powers: Outside Intervention in Intrastate Conflict . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Rød, Espen Geelmuyden, and Weidmann, Nils B.. 2015. Empowering Activists or Autocrats? The Internet in Authoritarian Regimes. Journal of Peace Research 52 (3):338351.
Salehyan, Idean, Gleditsch, Kristian, and Cunningham, David. 2011. Explaining External Support for Insurgent Groups. International Organization 65 (4):709744.
Schelling, Thomas C. 1960. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Schrodt, Philip, Gerner, Deborah, and Yilmaz, Ömür. 2004. Using Event Data to Monitor Contemporary Conflict. Montreal, QC: ISA.
Segerberg, Alexandra, and Bennett, W. Lance. 2011. Social Media and the Organization of Collective Action. The Communication Review 14 (3):197215.
Seib, Philip. 2012. Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Sell, Susan K. 2013. Revenge of the ‘Nerds:’ Collective Action Against Intellectual Property. International Studies Review 15 (1):6785.
Tarrow, Sidney. 2010. Outsiders Inside and Insiders Outside: Linking Transnational and Domestic Public Action for Human Rights. Human Rights Review 11 (2):171182.
Thyne, Clayton L. 2006. Cheap Signals with Costly Consequences: The Effect of Interstate Relations on Civil War. Journal of Conflict Resolution 50 (6):937961.
Tingley, Dustin, and Walter, Barbara. 2011. Can Cheap Talk Deter? An Experimental Analysis. Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (6):9961020.
Western, Jon. 2002. Sources of Humanitarian Intervention: Beliefs, Information, and Advocacy in the US Decisions on Somalia and Bosnia. International Security 26 (4):112142.
Wood, Reed M. 2010. Rebel Capability and Strategic Violence Against Civilians. Journal of Peace Research 47 (5):601614.
Xiang, Jun. 2010. Relevance as a Latent Variable in Dyadic Analysis of Conflict. Journal of Politics 72 (2):484498.
Zeitzoff, Thomas. 2011. Using Social Media to Measure Conflict Dynamics: An Application to the 2008–2009 Gaza Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (6):938969.
Zeitzoff, Thomas. 2016. Does Social Media Influence Conflict? Evidence from the 2012 Gaza Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution (Online First).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Jones and Mattiacci supplementary material
Appendix

 PDF (244 KB)
244 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 36
Total number of PDF views: 254 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1310 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 12th April 2017 - 18th June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.