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Working paper

EXPLAINING OFFLINE PARTICIPATION IN A SOCIAL MOVEMENT WITH ONLINE DATA: THE CASE OF OBSERVERS FOR FAIR ELECTIONS

Koltsova O., Selivanova G.
This research investigates to which extent activity of a social movement on a social networking site is related to participation in the offline collective action. We use the data from 17 online groups representing the branches of the movement for Fair Elections in 17 districts of St.Petersburg, Russia, and compare their online parameters to real offline participation of group members in elections in the role of observers. With around 12,000 online users and over 200 offline participants, we use social network analysis and statistical analysis to obtain our results. We find that both on the group and the individual levels participation is related to online networking features and activity parameters, albeit to a modest degree, and offline leaders are especially different from the rest of the members in terms of most online features.