Sample Project: Social Mobilization for COVID

The polarized mobilization model captures the impedance of mobilization by political polarization, illustrating the success rate lowered three times by polarization in a hypothetical compliance campaign against COVID. 

While social mobilization provides an understanding of conflict diffusion, the unprecedented crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three years questioned the practical use of social mobilization. Can we use social mobilization to fight the pandemic? 

Hong et al. (2021) examined the possibility of using social mobilization for a compliance campaign to mitigate COVID-19 spread. To reproduce diverging acceptance by individuals’ political affiliations, the authors simulated the campaign as individuals less likely to mobilize their friends with the opposite political orientation on a friendship network constructed from Facebook data and the US political landscape. As a result, the campaign’s success rate was more than three times higher in identically polarized states than in oppositely polarized states. This observation shows not only the potential of social mobilization as a collective mechanism for pandemic control, but also its sensitivity to political polarization. It emphasizes efforts to bypass and alleviate political polarization for effective mitigation, for example, by seeding sponsors or proponents of the campaign in oppositely oriented places. 

Key references

Ferreira, L. N., Hong, I., Rutherford, A., Cebrian, M. (2021). The small-world network of global protests. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 1-8.

Hong, I., Rutherford, A., Cebrian, M. (2021). Social mobilization and polarization can create volatility in COVID-19 pandemic control. Applied Network Science, 6(1), 1-13. 



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