About the Researcher
Deena Abul Fottouh is a PhD student of Sociology at McMaster University. She received her undergraduate degree in political science and a Master's degree in political sociology, both from the American University in Cairo.
My research interests are digital activism, computational sociology, social networks and social movements. I am currently working on my dissertation, which is funded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for the period (2013-2016). I am also a holder of the 2015-2016 graduate fellowship of the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship
One of the best moments I experienced at McMaster was when I got accepted for the Vanier. Though I worked hard with my supervisor to present a good proposal (which I had to rewrite for almost a dozen of times), I never had the feeling that I will be among the winners of this prestigious scholarship. I got the news on my trip back from a conference in Dubai and it was one of the best days in my academic life.
I feel good working at McMaster because of the social environment on campus. I also have a very good supervisor and dissertation committee who are very helpful and always make sure to expose me to new opportunities in the field.
What is the research about?
During the Egyptian revolution in 2011, Twitter networks among Egyptian activists began to evolve. Networks combine, due to similar ideals, previous ties, or bridge builders between networks. This research looks at different moments of solidarity and schism in the Egyptian revolution. It compares two time periods in 2011 and 2015 and looks at the effect of homophily on network structure, the effects of previous networks on newer networks, as well as how certain Twitter activists build relations between different networks.
What does the researcher do?
The researcher looks at tweets created by activists, identifying interactions within them, such as mentions, retweets, and hashtags to determine the structure and evolution of Twitter networks.
How can you use this research?
This research is helpful for understanding solidarity and schism in the Egyptian revolution, as well as revolutions in a digital age. It fills a theoretical gap by linking theories of digital activism to social movement theories of coalitions. It could also shed light on digital activism in other areas.