The protests in Turkey demonstrate the social physics of highly connected crowds
Twitter became the principal communication tool for the protesters; a diverse and previously politically inactive people self-mobilized; and the uprising caught most observers by surprise. These three features may be interrelated. There is an emerging understanding of the relationship between connectedness and collective decisions. As one would expect, when people are better connected, they tend to unite around popular decisions. But research also suggests that social connection — fostered by Twitter, say — also makes crowds fundamentally less predictable. With social media connecting people to an unprecedented degree, it is possible that the sudden emergence of unexpected collective action will be a defining feature of this era.