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Suazo, martínez & elgueta english version


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Suazo, martínez & elgueta english version

  1. 1. SNS as cyberactivism tools: the case of Facebook groups in Chile and the Concepcions areaSótero Suazo Vejares, Journalist, B.Sc. In Social Communication, UCSC, Concepción, Chile.Javier Martínez Ortiz,, Journalist, B.Sc. In Social Communication. Instructor at JournalismSchool, UCSC, Concepción, Chile.Álvaro Elgueta Ruiz,, Ph.D. in Public Communication, Professor of Sociology at ARCISUniversity, Concepción Campus, Chile.AbstractThis work presents the results of a study that compared the use of two applications of the SocialNetworks Site (SNS) as cyberactivism vehicles. Analyzing Groups and Causes ofthat plataform – along the Chile Network and the Gran Concepción related topics – it reached a firstapproach to how the people use this online tools with activism objectives.In addition, this research wanted to stablish variables that allow predict – by the type of the topicsfound in Groups and Causes – which of them may constitute cyberactivism.In it main results, it proves that the Internets Social Networks are mainly an amplification of ournearest social circle, this is, empowering existent friendship ties, more than create new ones.Furthermore, it characterizes by its anarchic and horizontal structure, and the lack of control overmillion of nodes that created the network allows a distributed organization and without the controlstructures nor information hoarding, enabling a strong communication flow, issue that finallyrepresents a bigger access into the information and a smaller capacity to limit that access.Keywords: Social Network Sites, Facebook, cyberactivism. 1
  2. 2. In Chile, the penetration of new computer-mediated communication tools – one of the majorreferences are the Social Network Sites (SNS) – are having a big impact in the rising of new spheresof citizenship participation and social exchange.Nowadays, this phenomenon that was announced in early 2000s based on the explosive appearingand expansion of the chilean blogsphere (based on the blogs or personal online log and by theexpansion that suffered the fotologs or personal pictures sites); multimedia exchange sites such asYou Tube (videos); Flickr (pictures); My Space, site for refering personal contents for friends (pics,video and audio); and personal audio difusion, like Podcaster.The worlds stats reflect a notable growth with awesome data. For the chilean case, the third reportGeneración 2.0: Radiografía de los nuevos usuarios, shows that Chile is the country with morefotologs all over the world (considering the service), with 2,896,332 users for the lastquarter of 2007. Another important stat is the great propotion of chilean users in internet, counting326 users per each 1,000, the major quantity of Sudamérica.Facebook – a tool designed for find friends, mantain relationship with near people and family, andshare multimedia contents – is not the exception on this tendences. From February 2008, thepresence of Chile in Facebook has the biggest growth in the world, with a 2,197 %, that in absolutequantity means to go from 106.960 usuarios in February to 2,456,480 users in August of the sameyear. Nowadays, Chile, with about 3,000,000 users (counted using the Marketshare tool fromFacebook) exceeds the registered number of all sudamerican countries, including Colombia thatleads the stats until mid-2008.Based on this background, the developed research points into reach a first approach to the uses ofFacebook, refering two applications: Groups and Causes.This work is focused on determinate if this applications are used as cyberactivism vehicle, on the“real” geographic place of Chile and the Concepcions area 1. To obtain that, it understoodcyberactivism as those social conflicts and manifestations evidenced through massive protests(convened through internet or similar media), without a known leadership and that put in the handsof the people suggested practices that allow to manifest opposition or discontent on some particularsituation.The researchs questions raised were: 1) Which are the features of the internets social networks?; 2)How are used this features to generate social activism on internet?; 3) What tools delivers Facebookfor developing social activism initiatives?; 4) How are used this tools on Chile Network ofFacebook and, more specifically, which is its use on social activism initiatives on the ConcepcionsArea?; and 5) It exists correlation between the trending topics on Chile Network and ConcepcionsArea topics?Moreover, it searched determinate which of the two applications serves better to generatecyberactivism campaigns, as to know if this platform can canalize the social unrest and setting anindependent agenda on the “traditional” mass media. Finally, this work wanted to identify thepeoples trending topics, depending of the presence on both geographical places.Theoretical DiscussionSocial Network SitesThe evolution of online tools have allowed more and more stablish computer-mediatedcommunication systems, mainly dedicated on creation and maintenance of interpersonal networks.This is the case of the SNS, that Boyd and Ellison define as: “web-based services that allowindividuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list ofother users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and1 Metropolitan area that includes the colonies of Concepción, Chiguayante, Hualqui, Penco, Tomé, Hualpén,Talcahuano, San Pedro de la Paz, Coronel and Lota. 2
  3. 3. those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections mayvary from site to site” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007: 211).Futhermore, both authors stablish the diference between Social Network Sites and SocialNetworking Sites. Although this terms are commonly used as synonyms by the people, the termNetworking “emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers [...] networking is possibleon these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor is it what differentiates them fromother forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC)” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007: 211).Related with that, is important to consider that because this concepts are in a knowledge area with agreat development potential, the term Social Network(ing) Sites still generate discussion. In thissense, the main critisisms points into it width and lack of specificity, and into the absence of asubstantive diference between sites of similiar natures, but that can contain meaning diferences. AsDavid Beer claims: “Although, it is clear that there is a great deal of overlap between categoriesrelating to how these various types of site are organised and the information they contain – commonaspects like tagging, profiles, and friending illustrate the complexity of the similarities anddifferences between these types of site” (Beer, 2008: 519).Besides of this accused width, it exists a group of theories that support the idea of Boyd and Ellison,in that the generated networks goes from offline into online and not in reverse. View the examplesof Stefanone and Jang (2007) and Ellison, Steinfeld and Lampe (2007), and others. Thats why thisresearch supported the first theory.Social molecularizationSocial molecularization of individuals is the collectivization of individual movements, this is, thatthe people moves by the movements of a particular group they belong.In the case of the social molecularization, this mainly occurs by the social momentum2 that maintainthe group joint. This momentum will be greater when exists more people that incites others to move.This is confirmed by Humphreys (2007) on his study about “Dodgeball”3, a mobile friends locationsystem that allows find the others members of a group, on an urban environment. This system giveinformation to the friends on a personal network, about the place where will find one or more oftheir friends, making the people move and experience the city on a grouped way.This mechanism allows an indirect link about the public places that the members visit, meaning thatthe people dont have to communicate their social activities or places to join the group, but thesystem alerts indirectly the registered members about a new rally point where one or more membersof it group of friends will be found.About the social “momentum” that make the individuals feel attracted by the group motion, thestudy recorded some testimonials that suggests the existance of that characteristic, so called“network effect”, will rise in direct rate with the number of members that have meet on a particularplace (De Ugarte, 2007). Many of those informers said that if more people where registred on aplace, it was more the need for meeting with them, understanding that they could have losing a bigevent.How to build and what are a Social NetworksAs De Ugarte said, the social networks had existed from ever. Consists on the ties creation betweenpeople for find out diferent goals, this over an architecture or interconection framework, that willdefine the interaction ways and the posibilities that the network supports (De Ugarte, 2007).The social networks are built closely to the socialization, from the establishment of ties betweenpeople. This ties will increase as consecuence of network effect, joined with the previously2 Concept taken from the Physics, that means thrust that causes the movement of a body.3 Now known as 3
  4. 4. supported by those that established that ties, allowing an exponencial growth on the size and reachof personal networks, generating an abundance logic.For De Ugarte “the typical example of the network effect is the phone or the fax. Always it countthat for a third user on the phone network, access into the network supposed to can talk with twoperson. But the fourth can talk with three... and so. The network effect make that the more memberson the network, the more value for a non-member to be registered on it...” (Ibid). On the same way,any person that be registered on that network wont generate a significant change on the benefits ofthe rest of the members of the same.Network topologies, information archicture and empowerment on social netwoksAnother basic concept to understand the social network phenomenon is the network topologies, thatexplain the forms as the networks nodes interconect between it, that can be in three ways. “Thisthree dispositions describe three completly different ways for organize a network: centralized,decentralized and distributed” (De Ugarte, 2007).Meanwhile the information flow only depends on one node in a centralized network, in thedecentralized network the information is hierarchicaly ordered on several nodes, this is, multiplesmall centers where the information pass by before arrive into it goal.Although the descentralized network is more efficient than the centralized, it dont allow an optimalcommunication between the nodes as any connection through two nodes have to pass by anintermediary.According to De Ugarte, the centralized and decentralized networks are remnants of ancient powerand control structures that, at least on the network, are falling in the past.The early 90s hispanic cyberpunk slogan that said: “Behind all informational architecture, is hidinga power structure”, is one of the first change signals that is starting to materialize. This changearises mainly as “a reaction to the concentration of power and the decrease of the personal rightsthrough monopolizing and hoarding of new technologies, especially those informatics related”(, 2008).The birth of informational anarchy represented by the Distributed Networks is the manifestation ofthis social process in that transform the way how the information flow, this is because this kind ofnetwork allows the communication between any node, without intermission of third-parties norhierarchy, generating a real horizontal structure for major empowerment of all the members.A network that have not filters or censorship and where the old power structures cant limit theaccess, allows the arise of new forms on the power distribution, with higher participationposibilities and a group of advantages based on the distributed structure.On this sense it count a rich generation of content, a major interaction stability and efficence on thesystem, substancial improvement on security issues and data rescue capacity on any emergency.This is because, if on a centralized and descentralized network the information is located only inone or several central nodes, respectively; on a distributed network is present on every place,making -in consecuence- harder to loose information.Cyberpunk Culture vs. Internet descentralization as todays cybercultures originThe rising of Cyberpunk movement as reaction against the tecnology concentration appeared onvarious forms. One of the more remarkable was the creation of identity document on1989, that established a a set of principles and key ideas where the Spanish Ciberpunk movementgrew.The document on it successive versions -Berlín (1994), Madrid (2002), Larnaca (2004) y Tamarán(2005)- defends the new technologies opening, through the use of various toolkits that allow theparticipation, interaction and uninterrupted information flow, without obstacles or hoarding. 4
  5. 5. Nowadays, this movement defends the content selfmanagement as the main way to object thetechnologies hoarding and the Internets excesive media covering. The blogsphere appeared as therealization of this paradigm, passing by the media coverage and converting it on the first distributedmedia (, 2008).Another manifestation of that culture was the birth of Electronic Frontier Fundation (EFF),founded on 1990 by Mitch Kapor, John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore. From it birth, EFF hadpresented a set of legal actions against the United States government and private that tried to restrictthe individual freedom on the cyberspace, trying to settle a legal precedent that avoid similar actionson the future (EFF, 2008).The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, wrote by John Perry Barlow on 1996, containsthe basic principles defended by the EFF. The former writer of the rock band Grateful Dead,declared that this is a place of the Human Mind, where the Government and old power structuresare irrelevant, powerless and dont have any legitimacy (Barlow, 1996).On confrontation with this culture, the strong thrust towards the Internet structuration from adescentralized logic4, have been manifested on the marketing and media coverage of the so-calledcyberspace, also the use of social networks for corporative and work uses (Wellman, 1996;Haythornthwaite, 2005).Meanwhile the marketing has converted Internet on a new “market”, the media coverage hasconvert the net on a “traditional” media.The confrontment between descentalization and distribution is the base from the cybercultures hadbirth. This is why the presence of both on the so called cyberspace, had allowed reach a synthesis ofways of work and forms to interpretate what to install between the marketing and the abundancelogic of the distributed networks, and between the traditional media use and the selfmanagement ofhypertextual contents.While for some authors the cybercultures are merely digitalizations of the existent cultural products(Contreras, 2003; Figueroa, 1997), for others the cybercultures are metacultures that include theanalog cultures from it come and also reorganize it (Galindo, 2003).For this work, however, the more appropiated definition comes from Ricard Faura that define thecyberculture as “set of techniques, folkways, mores, values and representations related with theextension of Cyberspace” (Faura, 2000).In consecuence, the cybercultures present various characteristics. This is: 1) rise as communitieswhere exists a new concept of freedom associated to the posibility of share their own benefits withother members of the community; 2) it constituted as virtual meeting spaces, that allow sharewithout need a physical space; 3) have specializated languages that allows the mutual recognition ofthe members of the community and distinguish experts from newbies; 4) present various marketingposibilities; 5) mix up marketing, media and distribution sights to understand the cyberspace; 6)include organizations and individuals that support the hacker and protestant work ethics; and 7) helpfor the management of descentalized organizations.Three examples of cyberculture, as synthesis of the different Internet development sights, are thefree software communities, the blogsphere (as distributed/institutional media), and the SocialNetworks Sites, understood as social tools and commercial/corporative media.The Hacker Ethics role on the CyberspaceAt this point it is totally relevant to understand how the distributed networks generates changes onthe peoples mind, how the social molecularization unchains new association ways that derivates onsocial movements. In short, how is that a different ethics, passioned and non-forced by a duty call4 See Network topologies, Information architecture and power distribution on social networks. 5
  6. 6. emerges to make changes.The hacker, a misunderstood character on our society, is the incarnation of this new ethics. So, whatwe mean with “Hacker Ethics”? Why represents a new vision?To answer this questions we start by awareness about the ethics that has survived to the currentepoch. On a particular way we referred the protestant work ethics, that inclusive nowadays is still areferent on most of human employments, as an immovable conveniently paradigm.The concept of protestant ethics had it origin on a Max Webers essay entitled The protestant ethicsand the capitalism spirit (1904-1905), that describes the way on the notion of work as a duty isfound on the core of the XVII century capitalist culture (Himanen, 2002).The hacker work ethics poses a confrontation on this position. The hacker dont understand the workas an obligation, since it is dedicated to what he likes and passion. Since there is not an obligation,is not subject to working hours, but instead works when it think, without leaving leisure..According Himanen, for the hacker it whole work objective is their mates recognition. The mainidea behind this ethic is then that the fruit of labor should be a good social use: “The original ethicsof the computer programming hacker emphasized on the openess, the free access 5” (Himanen,2002).As the current social breakup and change situation is assimilated, what relation could have betweendistributed networks, hacker work ethics and all the previous topics? The answer is thecyberactivism. This consists on the calling of multiple agents that can be spontaneously coordinatedinto the network, allowing that the conflicts be on multichannel, this is, that can be developed onseveral fronts (De Ugarte, 2007).In consecuence, based on the hacker ethics and on the distributed networks, a technological toolkitwas generated and placed for the peoples service.For De Ugarte, thanks to that gracias a esto, has been a genesis generating a change that mayreorder the axis of power.For this study effects, the De Ugartes cyberactivism will be used, that have the following features: i. A speech that poses an empowerment on the people and dont set hierarchies. ii. The establishment of ranges of conduct that produce life styles, that allows more identification on the people group. This identity generation will be the network binder, that facilitate the peer exchange between strangers with no mediation of a center, will present the distributed features and therefore will be more robust. iii. The generation of tools enabling the visualization of a change from people. In other words, deliver to the people tools that allow to show it dissent. iv. The visibility of the tools must to be on a way that allow the person can fell identified through small gestures with the people of the network, finishing the empowerment strategy.Cyberactivism in ChileIn Chile, there are two notable cyberactivism facts. The first one was the campaign Mi primer PC...pero de verdad –in short, MPPCDV, My first computer... but for real-. Although this campaign wasgenerated spontaneously on the cyberspace, this reach participation levels as never seen before, thatsurprising even to their precursors.This initiative had it origin on the protest against the failures on the Ricardo Lagos government plan“Mi primer PC” -My first computer-, that wanted to reduce the technologic breach that affected thepoorest segments of the population, by providing a low cost personal computers.For the chilean bloggers the plan presented a set of problems, counting from (Sandoval, 2005): 1)5 Free as in freedom. 6
  7. 7. the availability on the computers market of cheaper or for the same price solutions than thecampaign offer, even with better features some times, 2) software licences that rise the price of theequipment, existing free and open source software options, 3) market existence of cheaper optionsfor same performance hardware -i.e. a more expensive processor existing the posibility of get thesame performance with a cheaper part-, 4) the high relative cost on the chilean internet conectivityand the lack of measures to give solution to this problem, and 5) the irresponsible delegationfinancing on the big departamental stores, that urged the prices.“To the weaknesses of the plan, disident voices appeared that was mainly rough by three people: thetech journalist Christian Leal, the designer Alberto Contreras and the psycologist Claudio Bustos.This three bloggers articulated on an unexpected way the later succesful campaign Mi primer PC...pero de verdad. The campaign searched, on a first instance, to collect 2,500 signatures for send aletter to the president Ricardo Lagos. However, the three bloggers surprise was big when in the first48 hours managed to gather 3,860 signatures. Finally, the letter arrived to La Moneda on a CDformat, with more than 14,000 signatures. That day was the first when that bloggers met personally”(Ibid).The second case occurred after the intervention of the chilean senator Alejandro Navarro, whoasked for explanation about a document that he had access (Leal, 2007). The so-called documentwas the cooperation frame agreement between the Economy Ministry and Microsoft, signed withoutpublic knowing on may 2007.The agreement written on the tipically confuse language of Microsofts licence contracts included aset of polemic points, of which the most criticism were those on "Domicilio Digital" -Digital Home-and "Municipio digital" -Digital City-.The main criticism pointed into the unauthorized personal information delivering, the intrusion andpossible involvement of corporations in various areas of the government and the expense of thepossibilities of developing a national software industry (Prieto, 2007; Leal, 2007; LiberaciónDigital, 2007; Hollman, 2007). To this criticism was added “lack of transparency references andadolescence of a study demonstrating Microsoft as the best option” (Leal, 2007), the governmentresources commitment poor and inaccurate justifying (Leal, 2007; Liberación Digital, 2007), andthe promotion of Microsoft from the government (Prieto, 2007; Leal, 2007; Hollman, 2007).The reactions about the agreement didnt wait. “The MPPCDV stuff delay a week on get triggered -chain reaction, media coverage and involved declarations- this time took minus than 48 hours, witha growing crowd expressing its points of view” (Leal, 2007).Several manifestation forms rose in the blogsphere, some more elaborated and/or sponsored thanothers. Different bloggers accused the weak points of agreement and showed great indignation atthe blow that this arrangement amounted to the freedom of choice of the chilean people.It was created, moreover, a signature collection campaign against the agreement and a movementcalled “liberació” appeared, that in addition to the signatures collection tried to get thecampaign out from the cyberspace.The movement wanted, from the start, to defend “the interoperability, the freedom to choose thesoftware that every one wanted to use, the use of free/open source software and the chance ofdevelop a national software industry” (Liberación Digital, 2007).FacebookSystem featuresFacebook is a social networks site that “enables its users to present themselves in an online profile,accumulate friends who can post comments on each other’s pages, and view each other’s profiles.Facebook members can also join virtual groups based on common interests, see what classes theyhave in common, and learn each others’ hobbies, interests, musical tastes, and romantic relationship 7
  8. 8. status through the profiles” (Ellison, Steinfeld & Lampe; 2007).This tool includes several services that articulate the social interaction of users, that consist on a setof applications that meets different functions, where you can find games, tests, polls and multimediaelements management tools (pictures and videos) (De Ugarte, 2007).For this study effects it considered two applications: Groups and Causes, caracterized by thereflection on some cases the use of this social tool as a generator of cyberactivism.GroupsThe Facebook Groups are social units formed on the existence of common tastes and interests suchas music, hobbies, entertainment and others. This groups are organized in various categories andtopics types, i.e.:  Group : “¡No más Femicidios en Chile!”  Category : “Common Interest”  Type : “Beliefs and Causes”Most of time exists a tendence on that associations to drive social concerns, as was watched.Facebook Groups WorkingAs we watched, the working of the groups on this SNS is characterized by include variousmechanisms for determining whether there will be a stronger or relative hierarchy. This will comefrom the members role, the rules of the group, what features will be included, who will can tomanage content and who can have access.On the first of this mechanisms is necessary to explain that exists two basic kinds of people on aFacebook Group: Administrators and Normal Members. Administrators have power of decision andaction that the rest of members dont have or have it on a limited way.There are two kinds of Administrators: the group creator (that well call it “Creator Administrator”)and that who is authorized by the creator as administrator (that well call it “DesignatedAdministrator”). The Creator Administrator is the one that have more power on the decisions,relative on the characteristics and features that the group will have.Both administrators types will can take decisions on who can or not to be a groups member(depending on the access mechanisms that will be explained later), which will be the rules and tooto expel that members that dont respect that rules. Depending on it and on the decisions that hadtaken the Creator Administrator about the mechanisms of public participation and contentmanaging, the groups hierarchy will be more relative or harder.The features that will have a group depends on the options “Enable the Wall”, “Enable Forum”,“Show related events” and “Show related groups”. From this options, the two first will work aboutthe public participation on the inner side of the group, and the rest will work about the participationof the group as social entity on the whole system.About the content management mechanisms, is possible to setup administrative privileges for thepublication of “Pictures”, “Videos” and “Published Elements (Notes)”.Finally, the mechanism related with a higher or lower degrees of freedom to get into the group willdepend on if it is configured as 1) open, this is, that “any person can join and invite other people.Anyone can see the information and the content of group”; 2) private: “for a new member can jointhe group, the administrators must approve the request. Anyone can see the groups description, butjust the members can see the wall, the forum and the pictures”; or 3) secret, that is “the group willnot appear as result of a search nor in the members profile. New members will be accepted just byinvitation, and just the members can see the information and content on the group”( 8
  9. 9. CausesAs we watched, the Facebook Causes are social actions where several people are joined following acommon goal. Those are a way of manifestations for concerns, needs and social unrest perexcelence. This actions are organized on various categories and topics types, i.e.:  Cause :“En Concepción el ferrocarril debe ser soterrado”  Category :“Public Advocacy”  Type :“Chile”The Causes are help coordinators too. Thats because can rise funds, making the main difference -between other features- from the Groups.Facebook Causes WorkingAs it can stablished, the Causes working on this SNS it characterized by include differentmechanisms that allow “recruit” people, determinate which will be the mission of the Cause, thepositions or statements that support it, which will be it geographical reach and what institution willbe the “recipient” of the donations.About the first of those mechanisms, it exists four basic ways to Recruit the people for a cause. Thefirst one derives from the Cause creation and is called “make a pledge”.In this mode, the Creator Administrator of the Cause invites all their contacts as a startup explosion.When the administrator uses “make a pledge” for recruiting, it means that he compromises on inviteall its contacts.The second way for people recruiting is through a cause members direct invitation. The third way isthrough new members that help that the cause works. Finally, the fourth way is to invite directly themembers of related groups and causes.From that derives that the Causes is possible make the difference between recruiters and recruits.Although exists this difference, that is not a cutting feature, because practically all the members candevelop both roles. The unique exception is the Creator Administrator, that meets preferently arecruiter role.The mission statement is fundamental for know the cause goal, what want it creator and who wantsto benefit. The positions will reflect the mission at the same time that give more argument strength.This consists in statements that follow ask to pay attention on more people to rise the number ofrecrutis. Examples of positions are: “the drivers must respect the pedestrians”, “the students busticket must be for free”, etc.The geographical reach of the cause will depend on the option “Which is your cause region” whereis possible to choose between 3 basic choices: “Global”, “United States”, “Canadá” and a multiplechoice, that represent the rest of countries on the Facebook Network.The “Recipient” institution related mechanism allows to determinate what institution will receivethe fund raising donations. Exists four institution classes: “Nonprofits listed under PoliticalCampaigns”, “Specific nonprofit”, “Support a 2008 presidential campaign” y “Canadian charity”.Finally, it exists an option that allows dont take a choice: “Skip this Step”( on an ex-post facto descriptive research, driven during 2 months from May, 2008, usingparticipant observation and a check list for data collection, this article analyzes “Groups” and“Causes” on Facebook with a chilean and Gran Concepcións 6 area reach. The investigation wanted6 Gran Concepción is a metropolitan area on Bío-Bío region that bounded the cities of Concepción, Talcahuano,Hualpén, Chiguayante, Hualqui, San Pedro de la Paz, Coronel, Lota, Penco, Lirquén and Tomé. 9
  10. 10. to describe through this analysis the use of the SNS Facebook as media for supporting socialmobilizations and demands.The interest population was the groups and causes on the SNS Facebook, related to Chile Network(including national interest topics) and Gran Concepción.It conducted a systematic non-probability sampling, where was selected the top 10 groups and top10 causes with the highest number of members, both on Chile Network and Gran Concepciónsrelated topics. From this sample was used a secondary checklist to relate the minor groups andcauses, called “brethren”, that share common topics with the main causes and groups..For the data analysis was performed a summary for extract the information of description with thebasic data of each group and later can group it by intrest topic. At this point the groups and causeswere ordered on “social interest” topics and “banal” topics. The last ones didnt representnecessarily a mayor citizenship interest.From this resumed data it performed a search for groups and causes, related to the top 10 groupsand causes previously detected. By this way, it is possible to detect related groups and causes withthat defined as most influential by the number of users that have.ResultsThe actual investigation allowed to know the characteristics of the SNS on Internet, identify andassess the tools and potential of Facebook and, finally, analyze the specific use of two tools fromthe platform, on two different geographic areas in the country. Also allowed to understand the roleof the hackers work ethics and the abundance logic, produced by the distributed networks, had haveon the developing of cyberactivism in Chile and how this is reflected on protests and manifestationswith signs of cyberactivism.The study of Groups and Causes on Facebook allowed too catch a glimpse of how exists a strongcanalization of social unrest on several topics that followed the results of this project. Drawsattention to how people are grouped around this social tool to change situations that, on its mind,are wrong and that is necesary to set it on the public agenda.From the topics collected, most important, on Chile Network, was the related with transport,extreme domestic violence, welfare and environment. Finally, concluding it is possible to state thatthere is an significant presence of actual topics on the Groups and Causes of Facebook. Aparently,the reasons that empower this are related with the significant penetration of the SNS in Chile.About the groupsThe groups are mainly constituted as virtual social meeting spaces for whom are part of someinstitution and/or organization with offline origins, spaces that allowed share opinions, preferencesand hobbies. Generally, it presents the horizontally distributed network, except on some cases wherethe administrator manages more privileges, such as private and secret groups.On groups kinds above it was found some related with topics that can be considered as “relevant”and “banal”, highlighting on the first case actual topics and long term campaigns, such as, transport,politics, and extreme domestic violence, and more. As counter, it exists groups that have affinity on“banal” or comic statements, such as a soccer team or the proposal of an elephant as MissFacebook.Although when on the start it thought that the more popular groups will constitute as mere socialmeeting spaces supporting “banal” subjects, practically it tied the number of groups with“important” topics (9) with those related to “banal” topics (11).Between the “important” groups was found an important number of topics with cyberactivismcharacteristics: extreme domestic violence (Chile Network), polítics (Chile Network), bad socialpractices (Chile Network), delinquency (Chile Network), abortion (Chile Network) and transport 10
  11. 11. (Gran Concepción Area).About the causesThe causes are characterized by constitute actions that most of time follows important goals andwith high social impact. Generally, this actions want to get a big number of members every time,trying to make a bigger social pressure and constitute a change force. For this, the causes, ingeneral, suggest “desirable practices” for the people that integrate it, tools needed to make gesturesthat demonstrate their adherence and lead to the appropriate pressure to achieve their goals.The strong presence of “important” and actual topics on the causes give the count of the importanceof those as participation and opinion spaces for the people, and shows a participant society thatfollows to make changes for the “most” benefit.This characteristics convert it not only in ideal spaces to protest, also in the cyberactivism supportper excelence.In spite of said, some causes didnt have cyberactivism characterísitcs. This occurred by the absenceof high social impact goals and the lack of protest tools, on the way of hacker ethics.On the causes the didnt present cyberactivism characteristics, it been detected 5 topics related to“banal” topics, such as entertainment and amusement. On those it found: the proposal of a chileanalcoholic brevage as “worlds drink”, the petition of instalation of a Starbucks cafe in Concepción,the petiton to re-open a nightclub at Concepción, the demonstration the Chile can pass into theFootball (Soccer) World Championship, and the statement the Chile is lacking Rock music.In contrast, it been watched a big predominance of relevant topics with cyberactivismcharacteristics. On this topics it could found: Environment (Chile Network and Gran ConcepciónArea), Politics (Chile Network), Social Assistance (Chile Network), Transport (Chile Network andGran Concepción Area), Culture (Chile Network), Religion (Gran Concepción Area) andTechnological Democratization (Gran Concepción Area).DiscussionReviewing the gathered results the following preliminary conclusions was set:About the groups with separated topics on Chile NetworkOn it was watched the same number of groups with “important” and “banal” topics, dont existingpredominance on topics with any characteristic.The topic Extreme Domestic Violence, with 55 groups and 8 causes, had at the investigation time105,427 users. This topic didnt present derivative topics and only had one particular group: “¡Nomás femicidios en Chile!” (Female murders no more!).Extreme Domestic Violence presents clearly characteristics of cyberactivism, dont have privateorganizers and exists a big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different creators. Onthis sense, striking the explosive growth that the number of users had during the investigation,demonstring big recruitment activity and new users integration.The topic called to get awareness about the way that que domestic violence origins most timescrimes of physical and psychological aggression and crimes against the couple, and to bury where itis evident. The suggerence of the mentioned practices is a way to deliver tools to fight a socialproblem that is a characteristic of cyberactivism.The topic Politics, with 2 groups and 1 cause, had at the investigation time 3,494 users. The topicdidnt have derivative topics and counted just with one particular group: “Chile con Todos” (Chilewith all).Politics presented weak characterístics of cyberactivism, because meanwhile exists some 11
  12. 12. suggestions of conduct and tryings for an identity creation, the existence of hierarchy reveals acentralized netowrk, discarding this topic as cyberactivism.The reason is that have private organizers, in this case Sebastián Piñera, thats because dont existbrethren groups and causes with different organizers. Also, the low growth that the cause haveduring the investigation time demonstrate a minimum recruitment and new members integrationactivity.The topic call the people to participate on the creation of a citizenship-based government plan, butmaking propaganda about the candidate Piñera.Although when the suggestion for participation on the generation of this plan, apparently constitutesa way to combat the electoral absenteeism and rise the youth vote, have a clear propaganda goal. Inother words, this campaign didnt follow a social benefit, just electoral advantage.The topic Wrong Social Practices, with 16 groups and 2 causes, and had at the investigation time7,866 users. The topic didnt have derivative topics and counted with only one group: “No al ChileFlaite” (Say NO to Naff Chile).Wrong Social Practices present clear characteristics of cyberactivism: didnt have privateorganizers and exists a big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different organizers.In this sense, the number of users had a big growth during the investigation, with great activity onrecruitment and integration of new members.The topic calls to avoid bad social practices associated to the term “flaite” (naff), that reachdifferent areas of social life, occurred on different public spaces. Also called to refuse and deliver asocial punishment to the perpetrators of these vilified practices. The above suggestions seek toachieve a more educated society with attitudes that not cause for national shame.The topic Delinquency, with 13 groups and 3 causes, had at investigation time 4,806 users. Thetopic didnt present derivative topics and count with only one group in particular: “Mano dura conlos delincuentes en Chile, por favor!” (Tough on criminals in Chile, please!).Delinquency presents clear chracteristics of cyberactivism. Is a topic that dont have privateorganizers and exists a light proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different organizers.The moderate growth on the members number during the investigation, counts on a lightrecruitment and new users registration activity. This topic calls to criticize the Judiciary Power forthe so-called delinquency “revolving door”, that allows that accomplished criminals remain free.For this reason, and for the growth insecurity sensation that derives from above, the active peopleawareness and the manifestation of social unrest through protests. In this way, a harder law iswanted and finish with the called “guarantees providing judges”, restoring the death penalty andother legal tools such as the suspect detentions and the streets militarization.The topic Abortion, with 2 groups and 2 causes, had at the investigation time 2,869 users. Thetopic didnt have derivative topics and counts only with one particular group: “No a la Legalizacióndel Aborto en Chile” (Say NO to the Legalization of Abortion in Chile).Abortion presents dubious cyberactivism characteristics. This because an almost null proliferationof brethren groups and causes that allows infer the existence of a convener organization, whichbreach a main feature of the cyberactivism.Consequently, the number of users experienced marginal growth during the investigation, giving anaccount of a poor activity in recruitment and integration of new users.The topic call to combat through protests and legal actions any legal element or public healthinitiative that allows the modification on the law aimed to liberalizing what constitutes abortion forthe organizers for more specific reforms relating to therapeutic abortion and emergencycontraception (Postinal, Postinor 2, Levonorgestrel, and others). This legal and civic offensive 12
  13. 13. wants to avoid to legalize this medical practice on the medium and long term.Delivers behavior suggestions to combat pro-abortion policies. However, the poor call for this itemmakes it appear that they are directed to a conservative social sector.That poor call, considering that is a topic for all the Chile Network, maybe is caused by a lack ofsocial interest on the topic.About the groups with separated topics on the Gran Concepción AreaOn the groups on this area exists an important predominance of “banal” groups of students andalumni on different colleges and high schools. Moreover, was detected the presence of importanttopics that didnt presented cyberactivism characteristics.The topic Transport, with 9 groups and 3 causes, had at the investigation time 2,783 users. Thistopic didnt present derivative topics and count only with one particular group: “Licitación altransporte Coronel-Lota !!” (Public tender for the Coronel-Lota transportation).Transport presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The non existence of private organizers isnotorious as exists a big profileration of brethren groups and causes with different creators.Is striking the low growth on the users number during the research, based on a poor recruitment andnew members registering activity. Although, the subject presents a wide call on the area where issettled, reflecting a meaning concerning for this kind of topics.This topic call the users to protest against the transportation businessmen abuse, as a way toimprove the public transportation on Gran Concepcións Area and stop bad manners and abusivefees through a better control and action from the transportation authority.In this case, the suggestion of above practices constitutes a tool to achieve that authority takeeffective measures to improve definitively the transportation on Gran Concepción area.About the causes with separated topics on Chile NetworkOn the causes of this area it could watch a high quantity of “important” topics, setting a clearpredominance over the “banal” topics.The topic Culture, with 11 groups and 5 causes, had at the time of this investigation 65,170 users.This topic didnt have derivative topics and only count with one particular cause: “Bajen los preciosde los libros en Chile!” (Reduce the books prices in Chile!).Culture presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The absence of private organizers wasconfirmed by a big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different organizers.Reaffirming above, it watched a big growth on the number of users during the research, giving signsof high recruitment and new members registration activity.The topic wants to eliminate the tax over the books, allegedly the main cause on the high prices ofthe original publications on Chile, generating exclusion on wide sectors of national population, thatcant afford this cultural resources and the growing of a black market with pirate copies. Itsuggested, as change tools, cultural manifestations, protests against the high prices and to sharebooks to avoid the cultural exclusion.The topic Environment, that include a main cause and brethren groups and causes have 45 groupsand 23 causes, had at the investigation time 91,506 users.This topic presents 2 derivative topics:Energy Sustainability with one particular cause, “Patagonia sin Represas” (Patagonia No Dams),with 39 groups and 18 causes as brethren. The derivative topic at the time of investigation had38,465 users. This topic call to protest against the installation of five hydroelectric centrals and itsdams through the rivers Pascua and Baker, known as Aysen Hydroelectric Project, that will flood 13
  14. 14. wilderness lands and, allegedly, get prejudice the rising tourism industry on the chilean Patagonia.This practice suggested it constitute a tool to get the action of authority and the Congress to avoidthe execution of project by HidroAysén (Colbún and Endesa Chile) and generate a law accordingthe sustainable development and the growth of nature tourism on the area.The topic had a big growth on users during the research, with a considerable activity for recruitmentand new members registration.Resources Saving with one particular cause, “Ahorra agua dúchate con alguien” (Save water, sharede shower with someone) with 6 groups and 3 causes as brethren. This derivative topic had 53,041users at the investigation time. This topic strikes on the saving of drinking water getting a shower atthe same time with some other, as a policy to save natural resources and take action by savingdrinking water.The suggested practices are constituted by tools to avoid the wasting of natural resources thataffects the capitalist society.The topic had a big growth on users during the research, with a considerable activity for recruitmentand new members registration.As a summary, Environment presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The presence ofderivative topics and the big proliferation of brethren groups and causes, reinforcing the statementthat this topic dont have particular organizers.Generally, the topic wants to generate a environmental awareness and more effective legislation toprevent corporate abuses in this area.The topic Transport, that including the main cause and brethren groups and causes have 30 groupsand 3 causes, had at the investigation time 115,361 users.This topic presents two derivative topics:Proposals for the improvement of the Transportation services with a particular cause, “Metro allNight Long” with 2 groups and 1 cause. This topic at the time of the investigation, including themain cause and brethren groups ans causes had 101,720 users.Proposals for the improvement of the Transportation services call the people to demand acollective way that the administration of Metro extend the service of the underground train all nightlong, contributing to the safety of people that work on the night and dont have transportation at thatschedule.The suggestion of this practices constitutes as a social pressure tool to achieve the goal above.This topic had a big growth during the investigation, showing a high recruitment and new membersregister activity. Although the poor proliferation of brethren groups and causes, the high socialimpact and call of this topic, demonstrate that dont exists private organizers, as dont existsminority interests on the topic.Protest against the fee rise with a particular cause, “NO AL ALZA DEL PASAJE ESTUDIANTEEN LA V REGION” (Say NO to the students ticket fee in the fifth region) with 28 brethren groups.This topic at the time of investigation counted with 13,641 users.By one side, the main cause of this topic call the Gran Valparaíso7 area to protest against theabusive ticket fees and exaggerated price rises for a transportation service.By other side, on the brethren groups and causes was watched a strong national tendency to protestagainst this kind of problems, also by a high unrest related with the bad manners from thetransportation employees.7 As Gran Concepción, Gran Valparaiso is a metropolitan area that reach the cities of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar,Villa Alemana, Limache, Olmué, Quilpué and Concón. 14
  15. 15. Protest against the fee rise experiment a limited growth during the investigation time, because amoderated recruitment and new members register activity.Accordingly, Transport presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The presence of derivativetopics and the big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different creators, reinforces thestatement that this subject havent private organizers.Generally, the topic wants to improve the transportation services on Chile and stop the abuses andbad manners against the users.The topic Politics, including main cause and brethren groups and causes, counts with 24 groups and3 causes, with 14,299 users.This topic dont present derivative topics and counts only with one particular cause: “Fin al SistemaElectoral Binominal” (Ending of Binominal Electoral System).Politics presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The big proliferation of brethren groups andcauses with different creators, reinforcing the statement that dont exists private organizers.The great growth on the number of members during the investigation reaffirmed above, striking ona high recruitment and new users registration activity. This topic suggest the manifestation of thepeople to generate social pressure, becoming a tool to make effective the Congress action to modifythe Constitution and to finish the excluding of the out-congress politic forces, rising the citizenparticipation and the authority representativeness.The topic Social Support, includes a main cause and brethren groups and causes, counts with 81groups and 5 causes, with 19,002 users.This topic dont present derivative topics and counts with only one particular cause: “Un Techo ParaChile” (One Ceiling for Chile).Social Support presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism, as dont have private organizers factthat is reaffirmed by the big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different creators. Thecause experimented a big growth on the number of members during the investigation, striking on abig recruitment and new users registration activity.The call to participate on Social Support campaigns like Un Techo para Chile, constitutes as apowerful social tool that use the network effect to recruit more volunteers.About the causes with separated topics on Gran Concepción AreaOn this area, it could watch a high number of causes about “important” topics, establishing a clearpredominance over the “banal” topics.The topic Religion, that includes only one cause, at investigation time had 411 users.This topic dont have derivative topics and onoly count with one particular cause: “SantuarioCiudad para Concepción” (Sanctuary for Concepcion City).Religion dont present cyberactivism characteristics. The null presence of brethren groups andcauses, reveal the existence of private organizers. The null growing of the members number duringthe investigation, shows a poor activity.The cause dont suggest any practice to reach the goal of build a Sanctuary on Concepción, so thereis not social pressure to create a tool for the objective achievement.The topic Transport, that including the main cause and brethren groups and causes have 9 groupsand 3 causes, and had at the investigation time 2,741 users, presenting 2 derivative topics:Proposals for the improvement of the Transportation services with the particular causes“Biotren Para Coronel” with 9 groups and 2 causes and, “Licitación al transporte en Coronel-Lota!!” with 9 groups and 2 causes. 15
  16. 16. This derivative topic includes main causes and brethren groups and causes, counting with 2,741users.Meanwhile, the cause “Biotrén Para Coronel” call the people to protest asking that the Biotrenservice extends to Coronel, the cause “Licitación al transporte en Coronel-Lota !!” call to protestasking the authority call to a public tender to the transportation services between Concepción andLota.The relationship between both causes is not only by topic, but that it can watch the peoples troublewith the public transportation services that travel from Concepción to Coronel and Lota, generatingthe need to count with alternative services.Although, this can be watched partially, because there is not more causes or groups that ask for theextension of Biotren to Lota, on an explicit way.That causes had a little growth on the users number during the investigations, giving count of aminimal recruitment and new members integration activity.Road Infrastructure with one particular cause: “En Concepción el ferrocarril debe ser soterrado”(In Concepción, the train must be underground) with 9 groups and 2 causes. This derivative topic atthe investigation time, including the main cause and other groups had 2,741 users.Road Infrastructure call the people to manifest to the authority on the Public Works Ministry tomake an underground train, improving the citys territorial integration and the openess of this to theBiobío river.The suggested practice is converted on a social pressure tool, to achieve a definitive resolution formthe authority.The poor growth on the users number during the investigation, give account on the little recruitmentand new members registration activity.Transport presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The existence of derivative topics and thebig proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different creators, demonstrate the absence ofprivate organizers.This topic wants to improve the transportation services and the road infrastructure on GranConcepcion area. The goals are well defined and have a high social impact.The topic Environment, that including the main cause and brethren causes had 3 causes and in theinvestigation time had 227 users, presenting 2 derivative topics:Energy Sustainability with two particular causes, “No MATEMOS Coronel” (Dont kill Coronel)and “No más termoeléctricas en Coronel” (No more thermoelectric in Coronel), both with twobrethren causes. This derivative topic at the investigation time, including the main cause and thebrethren causes had 227 users. In this topic the people are called to protest against the installation ofthermoelectric power centrals in Coronel, because environmental and peoples health problems.The almost null growth on the members number during the investigation indicates a poorrecruitment activity,Environmental Conservation with one particular cause: “Salvemos los humedales urbanos” (Savethe urban wetlands) and two brethren causes. This derivative topic had 227 users at the investigationtime. It call the people to protest against the change on the building regulations in Concepción, asthis change can establish that wetlands are building zones. This can alter the biodiversity and thenature patrimony of Concepción.The poor growth on the members number during the investigation demonstrate a low recuirtmentactivity.Environment presents questionable cyberactivism characteristics. This is, although exists 16
  17. 17. derivative topics, the low brethren causes proliferation (just 3) with different creators questions theabsence of private organizers.This topic wants to generate sustainable ecological awareness in Concepción and an environmentallaw that protect effectively the nature diversity present on the city.The topic Technological Democratization, that had only one main cause, having 53 users at theinvestigation time.This topic dont have derivative topics and have only one particular cause: “Coronel Digital / Wi-Fipara todos” (Digital Coronel / Wi-Fi for all). Technological Democratization presents weakcharacteristics of cyberactivism by the null existence of brethren groups and causes supports thestatement that exists private organizers. The poor growth on the members number during theinvestigation, reaffirms above and shows a low recruitment and new members registration activity.This topic calls the people to ask the authority the installation of wireless networking over allCoronel city, allowing a major access and reducing the technological gap in Chile. Accordingly, thepractices suggestion establishes a social pressure tool, motivating the authority action.ConclusionThe Internets Social Networks are mainly an amplification of our nearest social circle. Thatsbecause on the social network sites the existent links are reinforced, more than create new ones.Internet allows the maintaining, consolidation and growing of that links. Most of times, thedirectionality of the interaction on this sites goes from offline to online. This is because, generallypeople dont know nor want to know others online, but want to reaffirm their familiar and friendshiplinks that have from its routine. Consequently, the Social Networks on Internet are formed mainlywith people that are part of the offline circle of each individuals.Other characteristic of Social Networks on Internet is it anarchical and horizontal structure. Thelack of control over the millions of nodes that form this network allows its organization on adistributed way and without major controls nor information hoarding. This allows a robustcommunications flow, that derives on a major access to the information and a minor probability tolimit that access.To the above characteristics it sum the fact that the communications on the Social Networks onInternet dont have time nor fixed space, because it can establish without physic or temporalproximity. This means that it dont care how far away a person is from other to its nearest circle,exists the possibility of establish communication.In the same way, if the above example person is not available on certain hour, evenly will can knowif have some messages or to know some important information that was generated on that time.The Social Networks reflect the way of being and the context in that each individual develops, sincethey will realize that others, which circles frequented, etc. The above characteristics give the socialactivism on Internet a fast and reliable way to gain adepts. The growth possibilities are exponentialand are one pass away. This goes associated with the network effect. In other words, any campaignthat be important for the nearest friends more easily for the person too.The netwoks distribution allows moreover a fast becoming between the users campaign, so that itwill most likely be able to expand with speed. The information safety on this structure, protects thecyberactivism action of whom oppose it.Finally, the timelessness and spacelessness of the message allow more people have access to thiscampaign, regardless of the time available or where they are. Resuming, Facebook delivers twotools that allow the development of social activism: Groups and Causes.On the Chile Network the groups are used most of time as virtual meeting space by institutions andpeople with similar tastes and hobbies. Despite this, the groups are also used as a tool of protest, 17
  18. 18. awareness and expression of ideas. For its part, the causes, because of their innate characteristics areconsolidated, as the experience of this study, as the main vehicle for cyberactivism.Notwithstanding the foregoing, the complementarity of these tools presented in practice, suggeststhe consolidation of both overall and a good support for social activism on the Internet.More specifically, in Concepción the situation varies greatly from the already detailed. Thetendency of the groups was, however, show more instances of groups, irrelevant meeting spaces inChile network in general. By contrast, the trend of cases reflected a greater number of relevantissues and characteristics of cyberactivism.On the results discussion chapter, a correlation between two topics was found. This was“Environment” and “Transport”. Consequently, it can to state the existence of correlation betweenboth geographical areas on this study. However, this statement will be limited because thischaracteristic was found only in two of the eleven topics detected.The present investigation posed different alternatives for future research. One of those is theestablishment of main groups and causes of other local areas through a country, for in a mediumterm can to pose a national situation of cyberactivism, as well as identify the issues that move moreto the Chileans and should be present on the public agenda. Other alternative is to deepen only inimportant topics of that hypothetical future studies. This could be done by increasing the number ofgroups and causes as well as analyzed excluding those items considered banal.ReferencesAcuerdo Marco de Colaboración entre Ministerio de Economía y Microsoft Corporation y Microsoft Chile. En, David. Social network(ing) sites.revisiting the story so far: A response to Danah Boyd & Nicole Ellison. Journalof Computer-Mediated Communication. Nº 13 (2008) 516-529.BARLOW, John Perry. A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, 1996. En Documento Identidad (Tamarán) con prologo de David de Ugarte. Biblioteca de lasIndias Electrónicas, 2008. En MEDINA, Fernando. Aproximación a una Semiótica de la Cibercultura. En UGARTE, David. El poder de las redes, Manual ilustrado para personas, colectivos y empresas abocados alciberactivismo. El Cobre, Barcelona, 2007. En, Nicole & BOYD, Danah. Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Nº 13 (2008) 210-230.ELLISON, Nicole; STEINFIELD, Charles & LAMPE, Cliff. The Benefits of Facebook ‘‘Friends:’’ Social Capital andCollege Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Nº 12 (2007)1143-1168.Electronic Frontier Foundation A History of Protecting Freedom Where Law and Technology Collide, 1990-2008. En I HOMEDES, Ricard. Cibercultura, ¿realidad o invención?, 2000. En ALCÁNTARA, Hugo Alberto. Ciberespacio y ética hacker. Revista Topodrilo. No. 48 (1997) 22-25. En CÁCERES, Luis Jesús. Cibercultura en la investigación. Intersubjetividad y producción de conocimiento.Revista TEXTOS de la CiberSociedad, No. 3. Temática Variada (2003). En, Caroline Social networks and Internet connectivity effects Information, Communication &Society Vol. 8, No. 2. (2005) 125-147.HIMANEN, Pekka. La ética del hacker y el espíritu de la era de la información. Destino, Barcelona, 2002. En 18
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