Using Facebook differently in two education policy protests

Amit Avigur-Eshel, Izhak Berkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Scholars have identified various uses of Facebook by activists and social movements in political activism and beyond. They overlooked, however, the possibility that social movements may take advantage of certain capabilities provided by social media platforms, while neglecting others, thereby creating differences in patterns of use between movements. The purpose of this paper is to investigate these differences and to assess the role of the lived experience of activists and supporters in shaping them. Design/methodology/approach: This study compared two protests in Israel with respect to activists’ use of social media, the class profile of participants and the leadership’s demands and their resonance among various social groups. Each case was analyzed by combining thematic and quantitative analysis of online data from Facebook pages and of offline data from various sources. Findings: The two protests exhibited distinctively different patterns of use of the capabilities provided by Facebook. These differences are associated with the lived experience of protest participants and of the individuals the movement leadership sought to mobilize. Originality/value: This study is the first to show that successful public policy protests can exhibit distinctive use patterns of social media for political activism. It also identifies lived experience as an important factor in shaping these patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-611
Number of pages16
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Education policy
  • Middle class
  • Mobilization
  • Online political activism
  • Social media
  • Social movements


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