DIGITAL AMERICA

Influence through Internet and Tradicional Media

// Posted by on 04/02/2013 (6:56 PM)

Diego Borrego A00366049

It is undeniable to say that Internet has become an element of big importance in the dynamics of the everyday life. Resources such as Facebook and Twitter (being incorporated from the American culture) have taken a very important role in many aspects of my life. Social networks have done more than just facilitating the keeping in touch with friends from the past or from abroad. They now serve as a communication tool with classmates, friends and family. They help people find a job or find where to go on a Friday night. And especially in the violence situation that Mexico has been facing in the past few years, these tools have helped people to find out where the armed conflicts where taking place.

Different international movements such as the Occupy Wall Street or the Arab Spring, have shown how the physical frontiers can be ignored by using the Internet to spread ideas, gather people and make pressure to achieve a certain change of public policies or governmental regimes. In my opinion, the impact of the Internet in this type of events depends on many factors, being the number of people with Internet access a very important one. Reading the analysis of the case of the Occupy Wall Street movement it was evident that most of the participants had access to Internet in order for them to join the movement in New York City, with the only exception of the homeless men and the people with mental health problems that joined the movement for different reasons. The countries involved during the Arab Spring don’t have as much people with access to Internet as the United States, but their numbers were high enough to produce a widespread of the messages at least on the main cities.

I would like to illustrate the importance of the Internet coverage with what happened in Mexico during the 2012 presidential election campaign. Students from different universities around Mexico formed the #YoSoy132 movement opposing the candidate from the PRI, Enrique Peña Nieto, and his relation with the Mexican media in order to promote an authentic democracy. The movement grew in a fast pace throughout Mexico and gain support from people around the globe. However, the effort made by this movement was not strong enough to avoid the results of the elections that made Enrique Peña Nieto win. From my point of view, the main reason for this was that the #YoSoy132 campaign was done mostly through the Internet network, and in Mexico, only about 12% of the population has access to Internet. And since the #YoSoy132 was opposing the traditional media companies, which reach every part of Mexico, the traditional communication channels showed to be more influential on the elections than the Internet.

In my opinion, American culture has an influence on other cultures, but not only due to the presence of the Internet. I think the American way of life is still spread by more traditional channels such as Hollywood, television programs, and the presence of U.S. companies. In my case, as a music fan, Internet has helped me stay more in touch with American rock bands (or English singing bands) that through Facebook or Twitter post their information about tours, new releases or activities. Nevertheless, if I have a certain interest on this style of music it is rather because I first knew these artists on the radio or on the TV and in most cases, not on the Internet.


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Patrick said...

Its an interesting point you bring up about the internet movement #YoSoy132 not being strong enough to stop Enrique Pena Nieto from being elected. We spoke in my class how internet movements do not always work because they are without a leader. This reminds me of the occupy wall street movement because some people call it a failure due to the lack of one true leader. Its an interesting question to ask just how influential these online activism movements can be as compared to say a election in which one person is considered a leader over all.

// 04/03/2013 at 12:47 pm

Andrew said...

Diego, your point about the lack of internet was interesting. I made a post a few days ago about the lack of activism in some of the border cities in the US, like Houston. I was struck by the fact that there were so many Hispanics in the city, yet there is very little motivation to get involved in local government and affairs that directly matter to them. I wondered whether or not it was because digital activism and online group-gathering were widely used; however, the suggestion that ACCESS is the problem is interesting. Do you think that the #YoSoy132 campaign has anything to offer to Hispanics living in the border cities in the United States concerning how to organize?

// 04/03/2013 at 10:19 pm

Tec de Monterrey said...

Hi Patrick, the case of the #YoSoy132 movement could be well applied to the discussion you had in class, because not having a true and tangible leader has been one of the criticism done the movement. #YoSoy132 had a nature of massive from the very moment of its conception, since it began as a support to the 131 students that published a video responding to the accusations being done by some of the PRI leaders. Right after the publication of the video, the support to the 131 students from the Iberoamerican University spread to other universities all around Mexico. Although the movement developed a sort of organizational structure to participate in the public debate during the presidential campaign and as observers of the elections, the presence of a concrete leader was not perceivable. This criticism to the movement in this sense, has become more evident now that Enrique Peña Nieto won and has occupied the presidential charge.
Although the movement specifies the struggle for authentic democracy as its main objective, the means in which their strategy is going to take shape is not clear. Some members of the movement have spoken about the will to turn it into a political party, while others talk more about an NGO project. The same happens with the discourse, while some members stand for a direct opposition to Peña Nieto, others focus their speech on the democratic media system. And in a certain way, a smiliarity with this movement and the #OccupyWallStreet movement, is that one first cause of protest, gathered a bunch of many different topics and demands from the society, that now a days it becomes difficult to distinguish a particular cause. This all proves not just the lack of a formal leadership, but also the lack of a common ideology and ambitions.
This also leads me to what Andrew is incorporating to the conversation. The image of a leader helps movements spread through more traditional communication channels, and since this movements are mostly spread by the Internet, it becomes harder to reach certain segments of the population, which could be applied to the Hispanic community in the US (specially the illegal migrant community) and to the rural population in Mexico with no possibilities to have access to Internet.

// 04/09/2013 at 6:56 pm