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Social networks and Internet: Shaping new ways of cultural influence

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (2:06 AM)

 

It has been said that perspective has a direct influence in the interpretation of the social processes, but within globalization and the new ways to communicate between actors it has been possible to form a complete panorama before analyzing… Read more

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It has been said that perspective has a direct influence in the interpretation of the social processes, but within globalization and the new ways to communicate between actors it has been possible to form a complete panorama before analyzing a certain event, sharing information and contrasting viewpoints, the citizenship empowers in order to break any existing barrier and even creating new ways to keep the world moving. In this post, one of the most relevant topics will be discussed, the influence of the internet and non controlled communication media in the power relation between government and population and also the cultural diffusion between nations, where geopolitical divisions are no longer a limitation and oceans don’t seem to stop the flow of information between countries. After reading about the Occupy Wall street movement and the chain reaction it began by including every American suffering the substitution of democratic principles by corporatism I couldn’t avoid relating it with the “Arab spring” we lived back in the presidential campaign months, which has been discussed by other classmates and basically meant the awakening of social actors who never had the chance to express their opinions and that, motivated by the possibility of living in a country where the information could be accessed and criticized, took the streets changing the political game mainly dominated by only one party. I will not insist on explaining the “Yosoy132″ movement, but its effects, which include the new ways of organization and communication that represent a barrier against the power abuses and the change of governance relation, no longer on a vertical hierarchy but on an horizontal cooperation. The open spaces that have surged after everyone noticed there was a need of change, include political debates in social networks, groups of NGO’s analyzing every aspect of a certain public administrator (I participate in one of them), and also a more liberal education with the inclusion of left wing ideology courses and the acknowledgement of the civil rights we possess and the obligations we must accept. The challenge we have been experiencing lately in México is that, no matter how hard society tries to create communication channels with the government, if they don’t accept to share the information about their actions it will be almost impossible to have a prosper political culture. I approach the cultural exchange between México and US as a person who has lived more than 13 years in a border city, where an international bridge separates prosperity from danger, fancy malls and huge convenience stores from drug traffickers and low scholar levels. I have seen the two sides of a coin, where some Mexicans try to emulate the American practices and sincerely admire the social stability and respect for values, listen to your music, sometimes without even understanding their lyrics, and will also be proud to have something bought in the US; I have also heard the other version, the one that refuses to accept that within globalization there will be a tendency to follow the working economy models and by saying that, they accuse the American capitalism for generating an income gap which now exists in our country and will eventually blame the ones in the bottom for feeding the crime machinery and slowing down the progress of the country. It’s all about where we stand, from which perspective you analyze the friendly neighbor, what will make you form an opinion and shape your citizen behavior.

My name is Iván A. Torres (A00515895) and I am so glad of being involved in this activity. I am looking forward for reading your posts and also providing you feedback from my viewpoint. 

 

 


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The third space and US influence

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (1:29 AM)

Andrea Bermúdez

In many ways Mexican culture has evolved. Since our colonization by Spanish troops, we have become a mixture of different civilizations that go from Aztecs and Mayans, to even Europeans. During the last decade technological revolution has changed… Read more

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Andrea Bermúdez

In many ways Mexican culture has evolved. Since our colonization by Spanish troops, we have become a mixture of different civilizations that go from Aztecs and Mayans, to even Europeans. During the last decade technological revolution has changed every paradigm we had, and has turned our little local issues, into matters of global interest, and it shows.Certainly the process of globalization is speeded by the increasing use of internet, not only in fully developed countries but also in developing countries such as Mexico, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. Everybody is interconnected, and whatever happens in one corner of the world is almost immediately acknowledged in the rest of it.We have several examples such as Occupy Wall Street, The Arab Spring, and in the Mexican case YoSoy132. So after analyzing the effects of the internet, we can say that it didn’t create something new among society, it only empowered people to actually make some sort of pressure to economic and political powers.Unfortunately in countries like Mexico not everybody has got access to reliable information sources, and by this I don’t mean everything on the internet is true, but at least it gives people the chance to compare and decide what to believe.Talking a little bit more on the case of YoSoy132, we can say that this specific event changed completely the way the government looked at their people, cause they were so used to never been interrogated. Everybody knew that the next president was going to be chosen not by the civilians but by external forces. Then the presidential candidate went to a university and caused a fuss amongst students who knew the truth of his backgrounds. Despite the effort of certain people to inform others, this led to nothing. However it taught us something as a society; the government will not improve if people don’t participate in a more active way.This is a clear example of the influence of the internet and interaction between people from various places all over the world, since the main ideas that led the movement were taken from the Arab spring, and in the same way this was inspired by some other.And now talking about the influence of the US in Mexico, this couldn’t be clearer. The ideal of life that comes from the northern border of the country has become the goal of many people. In my very personal opinion this isn’t really positive since our conditions are quite different, and since people can’t always reach this ideal of life, they fail causing some sort of social discontent, which increases the social gap in the strata.But the influence in almost every aspect of our day by day living is undeniable; economical, and political decision are made according to the US policies, trying not to damage the relations between the two countries. Maybe that’s why we´re the so called US backyard.


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Influence of USA in México

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (12:42 AM)

Here’s the link to watch the video where we share our personal experience towards the influence that USA has in México.

Participants:
Daviana Torres Caballero
Stephani Rivera Santoscoy

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Here’s the link to watch the video where we share our personal experience towards the influence that USA has in México.

Participants:
Daviana Torres Caballero
Stephani Rivera Santoscoy


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Media and globalization: new ways of intercultural approach

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (12:16 AM)

Estefanía Priego Martínez  806273

TEC DE MONTERREY

 

Media and globalization: new ways of intercultural approach

 

In the last decade a series of unprecedented technological innovations within the field of communication have been taking place. Tools like twitter, facebookRead more

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Estefanía Priego Martínez  806273

TEC DE MONTERREY

 

Media and globalization: new ways of intercultural approach

 

In the last decade a series of unprecedented technological innovations within the field of communication have been taking place. Tools like twitter, facebook and YouTube allow us to know what is happening across the world in seconds. Thanks to the Internet and these platforms mass gatherings are possible. A clear example is Occupy Wall Street in New York and the Movement #yosoy132 worldwide. The media showed pictures and videos of Mexicans in France, Germany, Italy, and other European countries that supported this movement hard. Young South Americans joined the cause showing their support through social networks and the movement became a global phenomenon.

 

There are great advantages in using these new media breaking frontiers of language and nationality. However, it is important to discern what is a new and what an opinion is. I am a student of journalism and media and one of the main responsibilities is to maintain social ethics. Social networks are mostly full of comments, opinions, manipulated information that is not based on solid arguments that leads to create stereotyping, fear-mongering, among other confounding factors.

 

Influence of American culture on Mexican culture

 

Developing countries are strong influenced by first world countries, such as the U.S. with his neighbor Mexico.

This influence can be noticed in different areas, in entertainment activities as an example:

  • Sports: in Mexico NFL games are religiously followed, young men bear their Yankees cap at school, parties, and department stores. Athletes such as LeBron James or Tom Brady are the heroes of kids in many Mexican cities, from north to south.
  • Music: Musical phenomena as Lady Gaga sold out in a few days during their tours in Mexican cities. Rappers such as Lil Wayne, Eminem, Jay-Z, are heard in most of the northern regions of the country and even imitated by many young people in their dressing.
  • Cinema:  Movies streamed in Mexican cinemas are almost entirely from Hollywood. Everybody watches the Oscar’s awards and Mexican fashion magazines base their trends on northamerican famous stars.
  • Traveling: New York, Los Angeles or Miami are strongly desired destinations in the Mexican upper class. Monterrey citizens take advantage of the proximity with Texas in order to go shopping to San Antonio, McAllen or El Paso.
  • Reading: Mexican intellectuals read The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The Huffington Post, among other prestigious worldwide media from the U.S.

 

 


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Americanization in Northern Mexico

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (12:12 AM)

Javier Carrera

A01136999

Americanization in  Northern Mexico

We eat, breath, speak, see, hear and live the American culture, in Mexican soil. Monterrey, just a couple of miles south of Texas, is the epicenter of Americanization in Mexico, we not only… Read more

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Javier Carrera

A01136999

Americanization in  Northern Mexico

We eat, breath, speak, see, hear and live the American culture, in Mexican soil. Monterrey, just a couple of miles south of Texas, is the epicenter of Americanization in Mexico, we not only believe we are more “civilized” and the rest of Mexico, we are educated to believe so.

When my Americans friends come to visit me from West Virginia, they couldn’t believe their eyes, how American the city was: skyscrapers, cars (of course) and we have fridge and electric power (I am not lying), and Starbucks and McDonald’s, in everyone corner, they were somewhat disappointed they weren’t living the true Mexico.

In the northern Mexican society, America is a place to look upon to, we are so influence to by whatever the US says or does, and their way of live. For example, take Monterrey Tech, founded by Eugenio Garza Sada, a prominent Mexican business entrepreneur, after the American college system, and the campus itself resembles so much the MIT, the Alma Matter of Garza Sada. We need to know English to get our degree, even if the language is of no use in the field, the school promotes far more the football team than the soccer team, we are encourage to go abroad, to embrace business, English propaganda from the school is everywhere and the image is too, and not to say they are shifting from Spanish courses, to an all-English major by 2015 or so. And this is only in the school, the leader of the college-system in Mexico, and whatever it does, is quickly follow by the other.

Back in my house, the American culture is everywhere to be seen, both my parents are US educated, and they educated my siblings and me with a curious mix of Americanism and Mexican values. My mom is what can we said is a “soccer mom”, an ultra-modern independent woman with not much time for anything, she watches American TV show hits like Drop Dead Diva, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and The Law and Order, and listens to American 70’s hits music. She runs her own business (a small child daycare), and spends her nights with her friends, and don’t get me started on Facebook. My dad is more “intellectual” but on the American scope also, he reads a lot of American authors, watches History Channel, Discovery and NatGeo, he throws some slangs from time to time, and uses American history, examples and American law, when he tries to teach us something, and always, always compares the Mexican political system with the American one, but being the grandson of a revolutionary hero, he also tends to be ultranationalist Mexican, he of course gets angry when the US denies their responsibility in the War Against Drugs, he doesn’t like that much the American unilaterism and also the monopolistic abusive practices from US corporations and the Us government subsidies to crops and agriculture (my dad is a cattle rancher).

And my friends, they are the living image of Cindy la Regia (a fictional character mocking the Monterrey way of life), they are of course American educated (they attended the American School Foundation Monterrey), they dressed like an American, the love gossip girl, ¾ of the words they speak is in English, they can easily be confused by an American girl when in the US, and my male friends they don’t lag behind, they (we) all speak English, and we watch American shows, the root for out favorite NFL teams, we paly beer pong, we listen to American Hits, and we can wait to vacation in the US.

The way the American culture has penetrated the Mexican and my life got a push from the internet, back in the day, I watched the American shows translated (poorly) by the local TV, the movies, we only watched the ones approved by the government, and I had little contact with people from foreign lands. Now that I own and iPhone and have all-time Internet anywhere, everything I want to know is just one click away. I don’t care if the government bans a movie for “attempting” to religion or anything, I just get online and there is. The news and situations that are happening, I just get on twitter and that’s it, all the info I need, when I needed it is right there, even when I studied abroad, I still felt a home, Skype call to my friends, read the local newspaper online, follow my friends lives by Facebook, is like I even was there! No more hard time as my parents use to write letter an took them months to get a response, I just get on Whatsapp and text my friends in the Netherlands, that easy. The government has so little tools to follow all the online users and track the things we are doing, and the way the jurisdictions of the law in the cyberspace are  much more easy to evade.

The traditional media and the old-ways for the government to control the people are gone, the internet is so intricate in our lives that we think we are entitled to it, and we are far more aware of our rights than the people of the South, you see, Mexico can be said is two countries in one, the industrialized north and the rural south, which one you think is more Americanized? You guessed right, the North, not only by our closeness to the US, but we have grown with some of the hardships the Americans have grown with, the North was populated by outcasts back in the colonial era, in early-Mexico, the north was ignored by the central government for our lack of resources and military place, so we have to stand by our own, the Southerner people are more used to have a paternalist government, as we can see the socialist-style governments that rule the south, than the north, which we are more “Americans” in the sense that we know everything we need to succeed is in us, and we don’t expect the government to be there for us all the time.  Even the Mexican constitution is a weird mix of socialist ideals (every Mexican is entitle to a house, healthcare, education and work, consecrated in 1917), and some really capitalist fundamentals (anti-trust laws, freedom of speech), they all get combined to create this complex scenario.

The American culture is present in every moment in my life, when I talk to my friends we throw American jokes and stuff like that, I even have an American boyfriend. Never before I realized how Americanized my life is, even the laptop I am writing is an Apple, but the fact that my parents and more my dad never forgets is culture, it makes me something sort of a Mexican with American Values, I cherish the values the Americans cherish, freedom of speech, free trade, but I try to put them in the Mexican context, I think we are in the political time the US was back in the late 1800’s, but the internet and our connections to America (like this) and to the worlds is making this change and Americanization for better of worse far more faster that we ever expected.


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The Internet in politics

// Posted by on 04/04/2013 (8:14 PM)

Gabriela Lozano Garza

A01190230

The Internet in politics

The decentralized network of networks, commonly known as the Internet, has revolutionized the political arena in many states such as Mexico and the United States. It has enabled a new… Read more

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Gabriela Lozano Garza

A01190230

The Internet in politics

The decentralized network of networks, commonly known as the Internet, has revolutionized the political arena in many states such as Mexico and the United States. It has enabled a new type of political activism allowing citizens with access to participate through the sharing of information.  This type of activism has multiple localities that are digitally interconnected at a local, regional, national, or global scale. Even though political frontiers exist, the Internet allows a fast and direct interstate circulation of information, which facilitates a movement’s organization. It is important to consider that technology itself cannot produce outcomes. It takes great human effort to spread ideas and guide a movement towards the aspired course.

As stated above, the Internet has given means by which citizens can be aware and get involved in the politics of their country. People who weren’t politically aware due to a lack of information can now obtain information instantly, and share it as easily as they got it.  A clear example is the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S., and the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico. Both were initiated by a small group of people, and used the Internet to spread the word, inform, organize and strategize the movement. It is clear that the Yo Soy 132 was somewhat inspired in the U.S. Occupy Wall Street movement; nevertheless I believe that it wasn’t intentional because it was the logical thing to do. The organization and spreading of the movement through the Internet was the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to strategize a reaction and disapproval against Mexico’s actual president Enrique Peña Nieto.

Occupy Wall Street movement is evidently an example of how online activism can turn, not only local issues into global issues, but global issues into local ones. The Internet substituted traditional media by which information circulated, creating a non-filtered information stream. In my opinion, the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico didn’t have much success as Occupy Wall Street because there’s a small percentage of the Mexican population that has Internet access; therefore, traditional media in Mexico today has a greater impact and extent than non-traditional media such as the Internet.

Both the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the Yo Soy 132 movement, are initial indicators that the Internet and other telecommunications have opened a new type of activism via media resources. What we must ask ourselves is how will global media change citizenship and its influence in politics in the short-term future.

 


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A Brighter Future

// Posted by on 04/01/2013 (1:04 AM)

When the subject of US Mexican relations is brought up it is almost instantly turned to talk of intense violence, drug cartels, trafficking, and missing people. These problems are very real and in need of answers, however they are… Read more

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When the subject of US Mexican relations is brought up it is almost instantly turned to talk of intense violence, drug cartels, trafficking, and missing people. These problems are very real and in need of answers, however they are not easy problems with foolproof answers. A possible answer to these problems can be found in online activism.

Online activism is a new form of protest that takes place solely online in a 3rd space.  Social activism is being transformed by the web.  Some of the most creative forms of protest and philanthropy are taking place online. People who are powerless in the modern world now have a voice that can be heard and seen by millions online with the click of a button. Online activism has the power to change how the world runs, for better or worse. In the case of the border predicament I can see online activism doing amazing things for the growing problem.

Online activism has the potential to unite the common citizen against the violence that many border towns face everyday. A quote from an online article describes the power of online activism quite well, the quote goes “Once a citizen feels he is not powerless, he can aspire for more change. … First, the Web democratized commerce, and then it democratized media, and now it is democratizing democracy.” The web gives the average citizen power that he or she would normally be without. One such example of the possibilities that online activism can bring to the table is an organization called Center for Citizen Integration. This organization “aggregates Twitter messages from citizens about everything from broken streetlights to “situations of risk” and plots them in real-time on a phone app map of Monterrey that warns residents what streets to avoid, alerts the police to shootings and counts in days or hours how quickly public officials fix the problems.” It is a very interesting idea that has the potential to drastically increase the role of the citizen and hopefully decrease crime rates and drug related violence.

Online activism is a rapidly growing trend and now companies and organizations are popping up with the sole goal of aiding online activists. One such organization is Advancing Human Rights and is helping to reach out to citizens in countries that face injustices but do not have the power to resist them.

The two examples previously stated are a symbol of hope to the future of online activism, and a bright light that could potentially fight the war on drugs and the border relations of US and Mexico. When I read about the spread of the idea of online activism it gives me confidence that the web will grow as a force for good. It will be very interesting to see in the coming years how drastically online activist movements affect the violence and drug scene that has engulfed towns and cities on both sides of the border.


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A Voiceless Majority

// Posted by on 03/31/2013 (10:34 PM)

I’m from Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the United States and a booming town that has plentiful job opportunities, great schools, a world-class medical center, and large homes for small prices. We’re also well-known for our large Mexican… Read more

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I’m from Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the United States and a booming town that has plentiful job opportunities, great schools, a world-class medical center, and large homes for small prices. We’re also well-known for our large Mexican population, a feature that directly affects almost all aspects of Houstonian society. According to a USA Today article, Hispanics accounted for over 65% of Texas’ growth since 2000, while the non-Hispanic white population grew by only 4.2% during the same period.

There are countless reasons for their move to Houston. Some have come to escape some of the border violence, many come for better economic opportunities, and a recent New York Times article said that many wealthy Mexicans have been coming to Houston because of inexpensive luxury housing and a chance to live in a safe haven that’s away from the violence and persecution against wealthy Mexicans in Mexico.

However, this isn’t an article about immigration. This is about cultural diffusion and the drastic change in Houston’s identity that is accompanying the massive Hispanic population increases. Almost everything that is printed is in both English and Spanish, and there are some areas near my house that have signs and billboards that are completely in Spanish. Our MLS soccer team, the Houston Dynamo, is primarily supported by Houston’s Hispanic population. I, personally, see more quinceañeras per year than I see average birthday parties taking place. The more I think about it, Houston culture is not just being affected by Mexican culture, it’s being shaped by it.

How does this tie in with activism? Well, for a city that’s steeped in Mexican culture, there is almost zero cultural or political activism in Houston. I have read numerous articles about this anomaly, but a 2003 story in the Houston Chronicle sought to answer this question: “Why would a city with so many immigrants have so little political organizing?”

One Mexican professor cited the border and zoning as being two reasons why so few Mexicans take part in directly affecting Houstonian society. While cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles have large sources for local activism, Houston’s proximity to the border allows for the Mexican population to travel to and from the two countries with ease. This creates a situation where is not a strong need for organizations to be established in Houston. In addition, the Houstonian urban sprawl spreads out communities and makes it hard to get together as a community.

The internet has become a forum for like-minded individuals seeking change and unity, and has been the backbone for movements like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. In the Southern United States, however, physical and geographic situations are what affect the unification of the Hispanic population. This raises some important questions: when it comes to activism, does Mexico prefer to work together by communicating through physical means? Is traditional activism–which used to be based on community building–impossible in today’s world, where information is primarily digital (which becomes a question of access) and people are spread widely across expansive cities? Most importantly to me, what is the most effective way to unify the voices of an entire community if digitization is not effective?

Here’s a scene from one of Houston’s Hispanic Heritage Month parades, held annually in downtown Houston.


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