While Euromaidan protests continue in Ukraine, social media and digital communication technology still play a key role in their organization. Especially after the government’s violent repression on 30 November, Euromaidan has turned into a mass anti-government movement in the country and has begun to resemble the 2004 Orange Revolution in many ways. One of the major differences, however, between Euromaidan and the 2004 protests has been the use of new media, social networks and other IT tools for organizing and sustaining the protests.
Since the beginning of the protests, Facebook in particular has played a central role in organizing protesters and informing wider audiences about latest developments. The first gathering of protesters, organized in Kyiv on the eve of November 21 and which was immediately dubbed Euromaidan (European Square), was sparked by the appeals of several journalists and civil activists, including Mustafa Nayyem [uk], a contributor of the leading independent online news outlet Ukrainska Pravda.
Organizing protesters through Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter soon became the key platforms for coordinating protest activities and sharing information. The now official EuroMaidan Facebook page set a new record in Ukraine, reaching 161000 likes. The page is used to inform protesters about urgent news and issues, discuss plans of future actions, warn against using violence, share advice on how to deal with police forces, and much more. It has currently reached over 161,070 likes · 163,766 “talking about this” An English-language page Euromaidan has also been set up, along with regional pages like Euromaidan Lviv.
Official Euromaidan Twitter accounts @EuroMaydan and @EuroMaydan_eng play a role similar to their respective Facebook pages, while they also help inform international audiences about the protests in Ukraine that initially went almost unnoticed by international media.Before these leading social media accounts emerged and accumulated their audience, users largely relied on hashtags (#Євромайдан in Ukrainian and #Евромайдан in Russian) to share information. As wee can see below, the Ukrainian version has been the most used to date.
Coordinating volunteers for Euromaidan
Many observers have noted how well-organized the main protest site, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), and the protest headquarters, the Kyiv City Administration building taken over by protesters on December 1, are. In fact, Independence Square has already been barricaded by activists who protect it during the day and patrol it at night. The website Galas.org.ua uses crowdmapping to coordinate the needs of Euromaidan participants with volunteers willing to help. A related Facebook page has also been launched.How Internet Tools Turned Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests Into a Movement by Tetyana Bohdanova