Between Empowerment and Paranoia: The Role of Social Media within the #YoSoy132 Mexican Social Movement

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
Emiliano TRERÉ , Communication and Journalism, Autonomous University of Queretaro, Queretaro, Mexico
In May 2012 the #YoSoy132 movement emerged as a strong political actor, asking for the democratization of Mexican media and criticizing the strategy of the PRI Party and its candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto. The available literature on the movement has repeatedly stressed the importance played by social media platforms, but few have problematized and nuanced the uses and the appropriations of these digital technologies. Drawing on an extensive review of the literature, on group and individual interviews with activists of the movement, as well as on digital and offline ethnography, in this article I explore the use of social media platforms by actors of the #YoSoy132 movement. The findings of the investigation point out the pivotal role that digital media played in the formation of collective identities, the organization of resistance and the viralization of critical information. However, social media were also the origin of several conflicts and struggles within the movement, in relation to issues of surveillance, privacy and ownership. In conclusion, the article highlights that other (digital) communicative practices were more important for activist of the movement, and therefore urges to avoid “social media centrism” and insert their activities in a broad process of youth agency, empowerment and self-determination against the manipulation of Mexican mainstream media.