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Following the Crowd and the Rise of the Islamic State

Almost everyone has heard of the Islamic State by now. It is an extremist group in the middle east that has shocked the world with its rapid rise to power in that region – and its ability to maintain power and keep its territory under control. An article by the guardian, titled “Islamic State: what factors have fueled the rise of the militants?” looks at many aspects that may have attributed to the success of the Islamic State. Some of these attributes are the acquisition of money, control of resources, and better relationships with certain people in the area, but the most interesting one is the rapid influx of new people from modernized technological infrastructure.

The Islamic State, like most unofficial organizations, uses social media to spread its ideas around. What we learned in class and through the reading on crowding network effects may give insight into the rapid increase in new members looking to join the Islamic State. IS most likely started off as a few extremists looking to create a new movement, and they then recruited their friends, and their friends friends, etc. Once IS had a solid member base, they moved to sites like Twitter and Facebook to help propagate their ideas. Initially, a few people from around the world and in their region who happened to share their ideas signed on, and then the information cascade began. People who hadn’t heard of this organization before may have turned out to be friends with a few members, and noticing that, they may have joined as well, and this process would just continue on into rapid growth of the IS, which could have been an important factor in them gaining a strong foothold in their region.



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November 2014