Blogs & Bullets III

Twitter Evolutions: Understanding the Changing Role of Social Media in War and Protest

In the early days of the Arab Spring, many hailed digital media as revolutionary tools for democracy and peacebuilding. Three years later as the region still struggles with authoritarian retrenchment and civil war, social media continue to play an important, if far more complex, role in ongoing events. Meanwhile, protest movements in parts of Europe - especially Turkey and Ukraine - are providing intriguing and complicated examples of digitally-active protest movements and recalcitrant governments.

The first panel discussed the recently-released Blogs & Bullets III report, which examined mainstream media coverage, YouTube videos, and more than 40 million tweets over a two-year period to show the changing use and impact of media in the Syrian crisis.

» Download the report (.pdf).

The second panel explored the relationship between social media and the political crises in Egypt, Turkey, and Ukraine.

This event was part of the ongoing partnership between USIP's PeaceTech initiative and the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.


Featured Speakers

PJ Crowley, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. Follow at @PJCrowley.

Marc Lynch, director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Master of Arts in Middle East Studies program; professor of political science at George Washington University. Follow at @abuaardvark.

Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Follow at @zeynep.

Joshua Tucker, professor of politics, New York University. Follow at @j_a_tucker.


Event Schedule

Monday, February 24, 2014

9 a.m. - 9:10 a.m. | Introduction
Remarks by Sheldon Himelfarb, director of media, technology, and peacebuilding, U.S. Institute for Peace

9:10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. | Panel 1: Syria's Socialls Mediated Civil War
Moderator: PJ Crowley
Panelists: Marc Lynch, George Washington University; Sean Aday, director, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication; Deen Freelon, assistant professor of communication studies, American University

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Panel 2: New Media and Contentious Politics in Egypt, Ukraine, and Turkey
Moderator: PJ Crowley
Panelists: Adel Iskander, adjunct instructor of communication, culture, and technology at Georgetown University; Joshua Tucker; Zeynep Tufekci



About Blogs & Bullets

Since 2009, the Blog & Bullets initiative and the Centers of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding and Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding have explored ways to utilize quantitative and analytical tools to map online discourse and content in USIP's priority conflict areas. Read more at

About USIP

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) was established by Congress in 1984 as an independent, federally-funded national security institution devoted to the nonviolent prevention and mitigation of deadly conflict abroad. USIP achieves its mission through its active engagements in the world’s conflict zones, teaching and training, research and analysis, and global grant-making.