Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon is a sociologist interested in the internet, social networks, and political engagement. Her research uses large-scale data to analyse the structure and content of political discussions, and how interactions evolve over time.


tel: +44 (0)1865 287233

Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon graduated in sociology at the University of Barcelona. She came to Oxford as an MSc student, graduating with distinction at Lady Margaret Hall (2003-2004), and moved on to complete her DPhil in Sociology as a member of Nuffield College (2004-2007). Prior to coming to the OII, she held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship in the department of Sociology (2007-2008). She is still affiliated to Nuffield College as a Research Fellow, where she co-organises the OII-Nuffield Social Networks Seminar Series.

Sandra is broadly interested in how internet technologies shape the flow of information and how online networks influence exposure to ideas and debates. She is involved in several projects that explore the structure and evolution of political discussion networks, and that use the contents of those discussions to track public opinion. More information about these projects can be found on the projects page of her website.

Sandra is an editor of the OII-edited journal Policy and Internet.

Research interests

Internet and political engagement, threaded conversations, discussion networks, online deliberation, public opinion, sentiment analysis, social networks

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, July 2013 –
  • Research Fellow, September 2008 – June 2013

Current projects

Past projects

  • Public Opinion Indicators in Online Communication

    Participants: Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon

    This project examines the research potential of online communication to gauge public opinion by reviewing different methods to draw public opinion indicators from online communication, focusing on what the public thinks and how they think about it.

  • Big Data: Demonstrating the Value of the UK Web Domain Dataset for Social Science Research

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, Dr Scott A. Hale, Tom Nicholls, Dr Taha Yasseri, Dr Jonathan Bright

    This project aims to enhance JISC's UK Web Domain archive, a 30 TB archive of the .uk country-code top level domain collected from 1996 to 2010. It will extract link graphs from the data and disseminate social science research using the collection.

  • Leaders and Followers in Online Activism

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, Dr Ning Wang

    Where do political and policy-oriented mobilizations (such as e-petitions or organized protests) start and how are they sustained? What affects the propensity of people to join a mobilization, and hence, the mobilization's success?

  • Student Protests and Digital Media: The Campaign Against Tuition Fees

    Participants: Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, Dr Michael Biggs

    How are digital media changing the way in which people mobilize for a collective cause? Why do some individuals take part in protest, and others not? These issues are investigated through the UK student campaign against raised tuition fees.

  • Social Feedback and the Emergence of Norms in the Production of Online Public Goods

    Participants: Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon

    Investigating instances of collective action that have solved an old dilemma: why should people contribute to collective goods (eg online collaborative platforms) when, by being public, they can be enjoyed without making a contribution to their provision?

  • Scale and Time: How to Slice Up Digital Data and Dig Up Relevant Trends

    Recorded: 29 May 2012

    Duration: 00:21:39

    Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon outlines the methodological challenges that social scientists should think about when analysing new media data. Recorded at a conference on new media and the social sciences, organised by the National Centre for Research Methods.

  • Politics and Online Social Networks

    Recorded: 24 January 2011

    Duration: 00:04:54

    Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon discusses the main themes of her lecture in the OII's "Society and the Internet" lecture series; use of the Internet to engage in the political process, and the Internet's effect on declining civic participation.

  • Social Media, So What? Assessing the Impact of Blogs and Social Media

    Recorded: 18 September 2009

    Duration: 00:44:27

    Can Web 2.0 tools (eg blogs, social networking and wikis) enhance our democratic freedoms? Or can we dismiss the socially egalitarian and politically democratic potential of these social media? Have any significant social impacts been ignored so far?

  • A small group spreads twitter messages during Gezi protests

    13 June 2013 World Bulletin

    The main points of research by Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon and colleagues into how Twitter messages about the events in Turkey were spread rapidly both inside and beyond the borders.

  • The Dynamics of Information Diffusion in the Turkish Protests

    9 June 2013 The Monkey Cage

    Sandra-Gonzalez-Bailon writes about her work on the role of social networking sites in the political protests taking place in Turkey.  There is abundant evidence that social media have been pivotal in the spread of information she says.

  • 15M. nos vemos en las redes?

    14 May 2013

    Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon writes for Spanish language web site about the grass roots protest movement known as Los Indignados and also the 15-M Movement and the online mobilization of citizens against corruption and cuts.

  • From Chiapas to Tahrir. Networks and the Diffusion of Protest

    16 April 2013 World Politics Review

    Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon compares the communication methods used by the revolutionary Zapatista movement of the 1990s with those of the modern age that use new technologies and the Internet.

  • Barak Obama Facebook campaign sees ‘likes’ soar

    10 October 2012 BBC Technology

    Both candidates in the US Presidential race are using social media heavily to promote their cause. Commenting on evidence that this is not welcome to many voters, Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon says they must be wary of intruding on private digital lives.

  • Where did the revolution go?

    6 April 2012 AlJazeera

    Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon looks back on the online mediated protests of last year. Online networks reach a large number of people in a short time but what is left after the activity winds down? How much of a difference did the last revolution make?

  • Tweet to Action

    16 December 2011 BBC R4 Today Programme

    What is the role of social media in the starting and spreading of mass movements? Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon talks about research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, which has been following trends on social networking sites such as Twitter.