251.6 The social media dimension of migrants transnational practices: Participating in the Argentine elections 2011 from abroad

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 12:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Natalia Denise SENMARTIN , Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Migration and Network Society Programme, Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
The ubiquity of the Internet challenges us to review migration and development and transnational participation approaches. In particular, the increasing use of Social Media, the various forms of media content created by end users and publicly available (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010), is not only complementing newspapers, radio and TV programmes as the main source of information but also becoming a common denominator in migrants´ transnational participatory practices. Concurrently, migrant associations, as well as private and public institutions are also adopting Social Media. The ways in which society and state common interests are connected and intertwined are becoming visible through the virtual sphere. We are to explain how the widespread use of Internet and Social Media in particular, is reshaping the formal and informal ways in which migrants relate, exchange information, organize and participate in the processes of social change and development of their origin country.

This paper will focus on the case of Argentine migrants´ Social Media practices in the months running up to Argentina’s national elections of October 2011 and immediately thereafter. It will define what their Social Media practices are, and how they take place, with a special attention to the information, connection, cooperation and collaboration aspects of cross-border initiatives. Based on interviews and online and off-line participatory observation mainly in Spain of Argentine migrants that are active in social networking sites, the results will allow us to give an account of the relationships between Social Media practices of migrants and those of the nation-state to promote ties in an electoral context. Moreover, the results are to give indications of the basis upon which to develop a framework to explain, understand and address the role and effect of migrants´ transnational participation in the network society era.