Gilets Jaunes
Mar 1, 2019
8 minutes read

I am parking here a list of tweets I gathered over a period of time about the “Gilets Jaunes” movement in France. No specific reason other than an interest in coordination of civic and bottom-up movements and the fact it hits closer to home than Occupy Wall Street did.

Ethan Zuckerman contributed a paper entitled “Effective Civics” to the excellent book Civic Media edited by Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis. In the paper, Ethan introduces a variation of Watson Strong’s equation to understand civic efficacy. In his revised form, he dropped Strong’s original duty variable D and introduced instead the sum of peer influences.

$$C < BP + \sum I$$

In plain words, the equation states “I will take a specific action if the cost is lower than the sum of my perceived efficacy and my interpretation of the aggregate of what my peers and influencers signal they are doing.” The perceived efficacy remains to be the product of the probability P that my action will lead to a probable benefit B.

This change was the result of a conversation with Zeynep Tüfekçi, an expert in protest movements, who brought up that “most people, historically, participate in most stuff because their friends are or [it] feels like the right moment.”


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