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Is social media turning socially dangerous?

Due to the growing popularity of social media, it is easier to quickly organize flash mobs or spontaneous protests. John Blackstone reports that these flash mobs, while only a recent phenomenon, are becoming highly effective in catching the attention of businesses and governments, particularly in large cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia. This article examines several modern examples of flash mobs, evaluating the pros and cons of using social media for organization. It concludes by suggesting that flash mobs are just part of the world’s adjustment to a new form of communication.

Blackstone, John. “Is social media turning socially dangerous?” CBS News. 16 August 2011 Web. 29 June 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/16/eveningnews/main20093247.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;8>.

 

YoSoy132: How A Mexican Student Movement Was Born

Just because they are students, it does not mean that they do not have a voice. This year marked an important presidential election in Mexico, and a group of college students at Ibero University were tired of the media’s misrepresentation of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto. The students used social media to demand impartiality in media coverage of national campaigns, resulting in worldwide attention. Through the use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the movement #YoSoy132 grew and stayed true to its cause by avoiding the influence of biased news stations and political parties. This article is adamant in its belief that social media is a powerful and revolutionary tool for today’s youth.

“YoSoy132: How A Mexican Student Movement Was Born.” Huffington Post. 30 June 2012. Web. 13 July 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/265/yosoy132-mexican-youth-gr_n_1637689.html>.

 

A Cuban Spring? The use of the Internet as a tool of democracy promotion by USAID in Cuba

Could social media be Cuba’s springboard into revolution? In her article, Pamina Firchow shows the connections between the Internet, social media and democracy. She addresses the question: Is a “Cuban Spring” possible? Social media can provide anonymity, which is crucial for protest leaders. Although the prospect of a Cuban revolution is exciting, Firchow is skeptical whether one will actually occur. The irony is that most social networking is based in the United States, so a Cuban revolution could yield interesting results. Is it possible that the new government will be a democracy?

Firchow, Pamina. “A Cuban Spring? The use of the Internet as a tool of democracy promotion by USAID in Cuba.” University of Notre Dame. 2012. Web. 20 July 2012. <http://lasa.international.pitt.edu/members/congress-papers/lasa2012/files/22913.pdf>.

 

The Social Media Basis of Youth Protest Behavior: The Case of Chile

Chile is in a period of experimentation. In 1990, Chile became a democracy after a seventeen-year dictatorship, but the country soon boasted a booming economy, minimal corruption and successful social policies. However, youth in modern-day Chile are beginning to protest for newer social changes. Although a small percentage of Chilean youth has been active in conventional politics, such as voting, this generation has been successful in changing national policies. What is their primary form of communication? – Facebook. This social networking site allows for large-scale organization and helps protesters develop a group identity. An increase in the number of Chilean Facebook users has caused an increase in the number of protests. This piece does an exceptional job of analyzing the connection between youth and political activism, and takes into account the cultural values of various generations. A formal, scientific analysis of the data accumulation, measurements and results are also included to further study the link between social media and Chilean youth.

Valenzuela, Sebastian, Arturo Arriagada and Andres Scherman. “The Social Media Basis of Youth Protest Behavior: The Case of Chile.” Journal of Communication. 2012. Web. 20 July 2012. <http://www.academia.edu/1440275/The_Social_Media_Basis_of_Youth_Protest_Behavior_The_Case_of_Chile>.

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