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Suazo%2c martínez & elgueta english version


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Suazo%2c 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 Journalism School, UCSC, Concepción, Chile.Álvaro Elgueta Ruiz,, Ph.D. in Public Communication, Professorof Sociology at ARCIS University, Concepción Campus, Chile.AbstractThis work presents the results of a study that compared the use of two applications of theSocial Networks Site (SNS) as cyberactivism vehicles. Analyzing Groupsand Causes of that plataform – along the Chile Network and the Gran Concepción relatedtopics – it reached a first approach to how the people use this online tools with activismobjectives.In addition, this research wanted to stablish variables that allow predict – by the type ofthe topics found in Groups and Causes – which of them may constitute cyberactivism.In it main results, it proves that the Internets Social Networks are mainly an amplificationof our nearest social circle, this is, empowering existent friendship ties, more than createnew ones. Furthermore, it characterizes by its anarchic and horizontal structure, and thelack of control over million of nodes that created the network allows a distributedorganization and without the control structures nor information hoarding, enabling astrong communication flow, issue that finally represents a bigger access into theinformation 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 themajor references are the Social Network Sites (SNS) – are having a big impact in the risingof new spheres of citizenship participation and social exchange.Nowadays, this phenomenon that was announced in early 2000s based on the explosiveappearing and expansion of the chilean blogsphere (based on the blogs or personal onlinelog and by the expansion that suffered the fotologs or personal pictures sites); multimediaexchange sites such as You Tube (videos); Flickr (pictures); My Space, site for referingpersonal contents for friends (pics, video and audio); and personal audio difusion, likePodcaster.The worlds stats reflect a notable growth with awesome data. For the chilean case, thethird report Generación 2.0: Radiografía de los nuevos usuarios, shows that Chileis the country with more fotologs all over the world (considering the service),with 2,896,332 users for the last quarter of 2007. Another important stat is the greatpropotion of chilean users in internet, counting 326 users per each 1,000, the majorquantity of Sudamérica.Facebook – a tool designed for find friends, mantain relationship with near people andfamily, and share multimedia contents – is not the exception on this tendences. FromFebruary 2008, the presence of Chile in Facebook has the biggest growth in the world,with a 2,197 %, that in absolute quantity means to go from 106.960 usuarios in February to2,456,480 users in August of the same year. Nowadays, Chile, with about 3,000,000 users(counted using the Marketshare tool from Facebook) exceeds the registered number of allsudamerican countries, including Colombia that leads the stats until mid-2008.Based on this background, the developed research points into reach a first approach to theuses of Facebook, 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, itunderstood cyberactivism as those social conflicts and manifestations evidenced throughmassive protests (convened through internet or similar media), without a knownleadership and that put in the hands of the people suggested practices that allow tomanifest opposition or discontent on some particular situation.The researchs questions raised were: 1) Which are the features of the internets socialnetworks?; 2) How are used this features to generate social activism on internet?; 3) Whattools delivers Facebook for developing social activism initiatives?; 4) How are used thistools on Chile Network of Facebook and, more specifically, which is its use on socialactivism initiatives on the Concepcions Area?; and 5) It exists correlation between thetrending topics on Chile Network and Concepcions Area 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 andsetting an independent agenda on the “traditional” mass media. Finally, this work wantedto identify the peoples trending topics, depending of the presence on both geographicalplaces.Theoretical DiscussionSocial Network SitesThe evolution of online tools have allowed more and more stablish computer-mediatedcommunication systems, mainly dedicated on creation and maintenance of interpersonalnetworks.1 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. 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, articulatea list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list ofconnections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature ofthese connections may vary 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, theterm Networking “emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers [...]networking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor isit what differentiates them from other forms of computer-mediated communication(CMC)” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007: 211).Related with that, is important to consider that because this concepts are in a knowledgearea with a great development potential, the term Social Network(ing) Sites still generatediscussion. In this sense, the main critisisms points into it width and lack of specificity,and into the absence of a substantive diference between sites of similiar natures, but thatcan contain meaning diferences. As David Beer claims: “Although, it is clear that there is agreat deal of overlap between categories relating to how these various types of site areorganised and the information they contain – common aspects like tagging, profiles, andfriending illustrate the complexity of the similarities and differences between these types ofsite” (Beer, 2008: 519).Besides of this accused width, it exists a group of theories that support the idea of Boydand Ellison, in that the generated networks goes from offline into online and not in reverse.View the examples of Stefanone and Jang (2007) and Ellison, Steinfeld and Lampe (2007),and others. Thats why this research supported the first theory.Social molecularizationSocial molecularization of individuals is the collectivization of individual movements, thisis, that the 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 thatmaintain the group joint. This momentum will be greater when exists more people thatincites others to move.This is confirmed by Humphreys (2007) on his study about “Dodgeball”3, a mobile friendslocation system that allows find the others members of a group, on an urban environment.This system give information to the friends on a personal network, about the place wherewill find one or more of their friends, making the people move and experience the city on agrouped way.This mechanism allows an indirect link about the public places that the members visit,meaning that the people dont have to communicate their social activities or places to jointhe group, but the system alerts indirectly the registered members about a new rally pointwhere one or more members of it group of friends will be found.About the social “momentum” that make the individuals feel attracted by the groupmotion, the study recorded some testimonials that suggests the existance of thatcharacteristic, so called “network effect”, will rise in direct rate with the number ofmembers that have meet on a particular place (De Ugarte, 2007). Many of those informerssaid that if more people where registred on a place, it was more the need for meeting withthem, understanding that they could have losing a big event.2 Concept taken from the Physics, that means thrust that causes the movement of a body.3 Now known as 3
  4. 4. How to build and what are a Social NetworksAs De Ugarte said, the social networks had existed from ever. Consists on the ties creationbetween people for find out diferent goals, this over an architecture or interconectionframework, that will define the interaction ways and the posibilities that the networksupports (De Ugarte, 2007).The social networks are built closely to the socialization, from the establishment of tiesbetween people. This ties will increase as consecuence of network effect, joined with thepreviously supported by those that established that ties, allowing an exponencial growth onthe size and reach of personal networks, generating an abundance logic.For De Ugarte “the typical example of the network effect is the phone or the fax. Always itcount that for a third user on the phone network, access into the network supposed to cantalk with two person. But the fourth can talk with three... and so. The network effect makethat the more members on the network, the more value for a non-member to be registeredon it...” (Ibid). On the same way, any person that be registered on that network wontgenerate a significant change on the benefits of the rest of the members of the same.Network topologies, information archicture and empowerment on socialnetwoksAnother basic concept to understand the social network phenomenon is the networktopologies, that explain the forms as the networks nodes interconect between it, that canbe in three ways. “This three dispositions describe three completly different ways fororganize 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,multiple small centers where the information pass by before arrive into it goal.Although the descentralized network is more efficient than the centralized, it dont allowan optimal communication between the nodes as any connection through two nodes haveto pass by an intermediary.According to De Ugarte, the centralized and decentralized networks are remnants ofancient power and 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 hiding a power structure”, is one of the first change signals that is starting to materialize.This change arises mainly as “a reaction to the concentration of power and the decrease ofthe personal rights through monopolizing and hoarding of new technologies, especiallythose informatics related” (, 2008).The birth of informational anarchy represented by the Distributed Networks is themanifestation of this social process in that transform the way how the information flow,this is because this kind of network allows the communication between any node, withoutintermission of third-parties nor hierarchy, generating a real horizontal structure for majorempowerment of all the members.A network that have not filters or censorship and where the old power structures cant limitthe access, allows the arise of new forms on the power distribution, with higherparticipation posibilities and a group of advantages based on the distributed structure. 4
  5. 5. On this sense it count a rich generation of content, a major interaction stability andefficence on the system, substancial improvement on security issues and data rescuecapacity on any emergency. This is because, if on a centralized and descentralized networkthe information is located only in one or several central nodes, respectively; on adistributed network is present on every place, making -in consecuence- harder to looseinformation.Cyberpunk Culture vs. Internet descentralization as todays cyberculturesoriginThe rising of Cyberpunk movement as reaction against the tecnology concentrationappeared on various forms. One of the more remarkable was the creation of ciberpunk.orgidentity document on 1989, that established a a set of principles and key ideas where theSpanish Ciberpunk movement grew.The document on it successive versions -Berlín (1994), Madrid (2002), Larnaca (2004) yTamarán (2005)- defends the new technologies opening, through the use of varioustoolkits that allow the participation, interaction and uninterrupted information flow,without obstacles or hoarding.Nowadays, this movement defends the content selfmanagement as the main way to objectthe technologies hoarding and the Internets excesive media covering. The blogsphereappeared as the realization of this paradigm, passing by the media coverage and convertingit on the first distributed media (, 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 itbirth, EFF had presented a set of legal actions against the United States government andprivate that tried to restrict the individual freedom on the cyberspace, trying to settle alegal precedent that avoid similar actions on the future (EFF, 2008).The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, wrote by John Perry Barlow on 1996,contains the basic principles defended by the EFF. The former writer of the rock bandGrateful Dead, declared that this is a place of the Human Mind, where the Governmentand old power structures are irrelevant, powerless and dont have any legitimacy (Barlow,1996).On confrontation with this culture, the strong thrust towards the Internet structurationfrom a descentralized logic4, have been manifested on the marketing and media coverageof the so-called cyberspace, 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 coveragehas convert the net on a “traditional” media.The confrontment between descentalization and distribution is the base from thecybercultures had birth. This is why the presence of both on the so called cyberspace, hadallowed reach a synthesis of ways of work and forms to interpretate what to install betweenthe marketing and the abundance logic of the distributed networks, and between thetraditional media use and the selfmanagement of hypertextual contents.While for some authors the cybercultures are merely digitalizations of the existent culturalproducts (Contreras, 2003; Figueroa, 1997), for others the cybercultures are metaculturesthat include the analog cultures from it come and also reorganize it (Galindo, 2003).4 See Network topologies, Information architecture and power distribution on social networks. 5
  6. 6. For this work, however, the more appropiated definition comes from Ricard Faura thatdefine the cyberculture as “set of techniques, folkways, mores, values and representationsrelated with the extension of Cyberspace” (Faura, 2000).In consecuence, the cybercultures present various characteristics. This is: 1) rise ascommunities where exists a new concept of freedom associated to the posibility of sharetheir own benefits with other members of the community; 2) it constituted as virtualmeeting spaces, that allow share without need a physical space; 3) have specializatedlanguages that allows the mutual recognition of the members of the community anddistinguish experts from newbies; 4) present various marketing posibilities; 5) mix upmarketing, media and distribution sights to understand the cyberspace; 6) includeorganizations and individuals that support the hacker and protestant work ethics; and 7)help for the management of descentalized organizations.Three examples of cyberculture, as synthesis of the different Internet development sights,are the free software communities, the blogsphere (as distributed/institutional media), andthe Social Networks 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 generateschanges on the peoples mind, how the social molecularization unchains new associationways that derivates on social movements. In short, how is that a different ethics, passionedand non-forced by a duty call emerges to make changes.The hacker, a misunderstood character on our society, is the incarnation of this new ethics.So, what we mean with “Hacker Ethics”? Why represents a new vision?To answer this questions we start by awareness about the ethics that has survived to thecurrent epoch. On a particular way we referred the protestant work ethics, that inclusivenowadays is still a referent on most of human employments, as an immovable convenientlyparadigm.The concept of protestant ethics had it origin on a Max Webers essay entitled Theprotestant ethics and the capitalism spirit (1904-1905), that describes the way on thenotion of work as a duty is found on the core of the XVII century capitalist culture(Himanen, 2002).The hacker work ethics poses a confrontation on this position. The hacker dontunderstand the work as 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 itthink, without leaving leisure..According Himanen, for the hacker it whole work objective is their mates recognition. Themain idea behind this ethic is then that the fruit of labor should be a good social use: “Theoriginal ethics of the computer programming hacker emphasized on the openess, the freeaccess5” (Himanen, 2002).As the current social breakup and change situation is assimilated, what relation could havebetween distributed networks, hacker work ethics and all the previous topics? The answeris the cyberactivism. This consists on the calling of multiple agents that can bespontaneously coordinated into the network, allowing that the conflicts be onmultichannel, this is, that can be developed on several fronts (De Ugarte, 2007).In consecuence, based on the hacker ethics and on the distributed networks, atechnological toolkit was generated and placed for the peoples service.5 Free as in freedom. 6
  7. 7. For De Ugarte, thanks to that gracias a esto, has been a genesis generating a change thatmay reorder the axis of power.For this study effects, the De Ugartes cyberactivism will be used, that have the followingfeatures: 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 Miprimer PC... pero de verdad –in short, MPPCDV, My first computer... but for real-.Although this campaign was generated spontaneously on the cyberspace, this reachparticipation levels as never seen before, that surprising even to their precursors.This initiative had it origin on the protest against the failures on the Ricardo Lagosgovernment plan “Mi primer PC” -My first computer-, that wanted to reduce thetechnologic breach that affected the poorest segments of the population, by providing a lowcost personal computers.For the chilean bloggers the plan presented a set of problems, counting from (Sandoval,2005): 1) the availability on the computers market of cheaper or for the same pricesolutions than the campaign offer, even with better features some times, 2) softwarelicences that rise the price of the equipment, existing free and open source softwareoptions, 3) market existence of cheaper options for same performance hardware -i.e. amore expensive processor existing the posibility of get the same performance with acheaper part-, 4) the high relative cost on the chilean internet conectivity and the lack ofmeasures to give solution to this problem, and 5) the irresponsible delegation financing onthe big departamental stores, that urged the prices.“To the weaknesses of the plan, disident voices appeared that was mainly rough by threepeople: the tech journalist Christian Leal, the designer Alberto Contreras and thepsycologist Claudio Bustos. This three bloggers articulated on an unexpected way the latersuccesful campaign Mi primer PC... pero de verdad. The campaign searched, on a firstinstance, to collect 2,500 signatures for send a letter to the president Ricardo Lagos.However, the three bloggers surprise was big when in the first 48 hours managed to gather3,860 signatures. Finally, the letter arrived to La Moneda on a CD format, with more than14,000 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,who asked for explanation about a document that he had access (Leal, 2007). The so-calleddocument was the cooperation frame agreement between the Economy Ministry andMicrosoft, signed without public knowing on may 2007.The agreement written on the tipically confuse language of Microsofts licence contractsincluded a set of polemic points, of which the most criticism were those on "DomicilioDigital" -Digital Home- and "Municipio digital" -Digital City-.The main criticism pointed into the unauthorized personal information delivering, the 7
  8. 8. intrusion and possible involvement of corporations in various areas of the government andthe expense of the possibilities of developing a national software industry (Prieto, 2007;Leal, 2007; Liberación Digital, 2007; Hollman, 2007). To this criticism was added “lack oftransparency references and adolescence of a study demonstrating Microsoft as the bestoption” (Leal, 2007), the government resources commitment poor and inaccuratejustifying (Leal, 2007; Liberación Digital, 2007), and the promotion of Microsoft from thegovernment (Prieto, 2007; Leal, 2007; Hollman, 2007).The reactions about the agreement didnt wait. “The MPPCDV stuff delay a week on gettriggered -chain reaction, media coverage and involved declarations- this time took minusthan 48 hours, with a growing crowd expressing its points of view” (Leal, 2007).Several manifestation forms rose in the blogsphere, some more elaborated and/orsponsored than others. Different bloggers accused the weak points of agreement andshowed great indignation at the blow that this arrangement amounted to the freedom ofchoice of the chilean people.It was created, moreover, a signature collection campaign against the agreement and amovement called “liberació” appeared, that in addition to the signaturescollection tried to get the campaign out from the cyberspace.The movement wanted, from the start, to defend “the interoperability, the freedom tochoose the software that every one wanted to use, the use of free/open source software andthe chance of develop a national software industry” (Liberación Digital, 2007).FacebookSystem featuresFacebook is a social networks site that “enables its users to present themselves in an onlineprofile, accumulate friends who can post comments on each other’s pages, and view eachother’s profiles. Facebook members can also join virtual groups based on commoninterests, see what classes they have in common, and learn each others’ hobbies, interests,musical tastes, and romantic relationship status through the profiles” (Ellison, Steinfeld &Lampe; 2007).This tool includes several services that articulate the social interaction of users, that consiston a set of applications that meets different functions, where you can find games, tests,polls and multimedia elements management tools (pictures and videos) (De Ugarte, 2007).For this study effects it considered two applications: Groups and Causes, caracterized bythe reflection 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 andinterests such as music, hobbies, entertainment and others. This groups are organized invarious categories and topics 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 waswatched.Facebook Groups WorkingAs we watched, the working of the groups on this SNS is characterized by include various 8
  9. 9. mechanisms for determining whether there will be a stronger or relative hierarchy. Thiswill come from the members role, the rules of the group, what features will be included,who will can to manage content and who can have access.On the first of this mechanisms is necessary to explain that exists two basic kinds of peopleon a Facebook Group: Administrators and Normal Members. Administrators have powerof decision and action 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 “CreatorAdministrator”) and that who is authorized by the creator as administrator (that well callit “Designated Administrator”). The Creator Administrator is the one that have morepower on the decisions, relative on the characteristics and features that the group willhave.Both administrators types will can take decisions on who can or not to be a groupsmember (depending on the access mechanisms that will be explained later), which will bethe rules and too to expel that members that dont respect that rules. Depending on it andon the decisions that had taken the Creator Administrator about the mechanisms of publicparticipation and content managing, the groups hierarchy will be more relative or harder.The features that will have a group depends on the options “Enable the Wall”, “EnableForum”, “Show related events” and “Show related groups”. From this options, the two firstwill work about the public participation on the inner side of the group, and the rest willwork about the participation of the group as social entity on the whole system.About the content management mechanisms, is possible to setup administrative privilegesfor the publication of “Pictures”, “Videos” and “Published Elements (Notes)”.Finally, the mechanism related with a higher or lower degrees of freedom to get into thegroup will depend on if it is configured as 1) open, this is, that “any person can join andinvite other people. Anyone can see the information and the content of group”; 2) private:“for a new member can join the group, the administrators must approve the request.Anyone can see the groups description, but just the members can see the wall, the forumand the pictures”; or 3) secret, that is “the group will not appear as result of a search nor inthe members profile. New members will be accepted just by invitation, and just themembers can see the information and content on the group”( we watched, the Facebook Causes are social actions where several people are joinedfollowing a common goal. Those are a way of manifestations for concerns, needs and socialunrest per excelence. 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 maindifference -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 theCause, the positions or statements that support it, which will be it geographical reach andwhat institution will be the “recipient” of the donations.About the first of those mechanisms, it exists four basic ways to Recruit the people for acause. The first one derives from the Cause creation and is called “make a pledge”. 9
  10. 10. In this mode, the Creator Administrator of the Cause invites all their contacts as a startupexplosion. When the administrator uses “make a pledge” for recruiting, it means that hecompromises on invite all its contacts.The second way for people recruiting is through a cause members direct invitation. Thethird way is through new members that help that the cause works. Finally, the fourth wayis to invite directly the members of related groups and causes.From that derives that the Causes is possible make the difference between recruiters andrecruits. Although exists this difference, that is not a cutting feature, because practically allthe members can develop both roles. The unique exception is the Creator Administrator,that meets preferently a recruiter role.The mission statement is fundamental for know the cause goal, what want it creator andwho wants to benefit. The positions will reflect the mission at the same time that give moreargument strength. This consists in statements that follow ask to pay attention on morepeople to rise the number of recrutis. Examples of positions are: “the drivers must respectthe pedestrians”, “the students bus ticket must be for free”, etc.The geographical reach of the cause will depend on the option “Which is your cause region”where is possible to choose between 3 basic choices: “Global”, “United States”, “Canadá”and a multiple choice, that represent the rest of countries on the Facebook Network.The “Recipient” institution related mechanism allows to determinate what institution willreceive the fund raising donations. Exists four institution classes: “Nonprofits listed underPolitical Campaigns”, “Specific nonprofit”, “Support a 2008 presidential campaign” y“Canadian charity”. Finally, it exists an option that allows dont take a choice: “Skip thisStep” ( on an ex-post facto descriptive research, driven during 2 months from May, 2008,using participant observation and a check list for data collection, this article analyzes“Groups” and “Causes” on Facebook with a chilean and Gran Concepcións6 area reach. Theinvestigation wanted to describe through this analysis the use of the SNS Facebook asmedia for supporting social mobilizations and demands.The interest population was the groups and causes on the SNS Facebook, related to ChileNetwork (including national interest topics) and Gran Concepción.It conducted a systematic non-probability sampling, where was selected the top 10 groupsand top 10 causes with the highest number of members, both on Chile Network and GranConcepcións related topics. From this sample was used a secondary checklist to relate theminor groups and causes, called “brethren”, that share common topics with the maincauses and groups..For the data analysis was performed a summary for extract the information of descriptionwith the basic data of each group and later can group it by intrest topic. At this point thegroups and causes were ordered on “social interest” topics and “banal” topics. The lastones didnt represent necessarily a mayor citizenship interest.From this resumed data it performed a search for groups and causes, related to the top 10groups and causes previously detected. By this way, it is possible to detect related groupsand causes with that defined as most influential by the number of users that have.6 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. 10
  11. 11. ResultsThe actual investigation allowed to know the characteristics of the SNS on Internet,identify and assess the tools and potential of Facebook and, finally, analyze the specific useof two tools from the platform, on two different geographic areas in the country. Alsoallowed to understand the role of the hackers work ethics and the abundance logic,produced by the distributed networks, had have on the developing of cyberactivism inChile and how this is reflected on protests and manifestations with signs of cyberactivism.The study of Groups and Causes on Facebook allowed too catch a glimpse of how exists astrong canalization of social unrest on several topics that followed the results of thisproject. Draws attention to how people are grouped around this social tool to changesituations 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 withtransport, extreme domestic violence, welfare and environment. Finally, concluding it ispossible to state that there is an significant presence of actual topics on the Groups andCauses of Facebook. Aparently, the reasons that empower this are related with thesignificant penetration of the SNS in Chile.About the groupsThe groups are mainly constituted as virtual social meeting spaces for whom are part ofsome institution and/or organization with offline origins, spaces that allowed shareopinions, preferences and hobbies. Generally, it presents the horizontally distributednetwork, except on some cases where the administrator manages more privileges, such asprivate 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 termcampaigns, such as, transport, politics, and extreme domestic violence, and more. Ascounter, it exists groups that have affinity on “banal” or comic statements, such as a soccerteam or the proposal of an elephant as Miss Facebook.Although when on the start it thought that the more popular groups will constitute as meresocial meeting spaces supporting “banal” subjects, practically it tied the number of groupswith “important” topics (9) with those related to “banal” topics (11).Between the “important” groups was found an important number of topics withcyberactivism characteristics: extreme domestic violence (Chile Network), polítics (ChileNetwork), bad social practices (Chile Network), delinquency (Chile Network), abortion(Chile Network) and transport (Gran Concepción Area).About the causesThe causes are characterized by constitute actions that most of time follows importantgoals and with high social impact. Generally, this actions want to get a big number ofmembers every time, trying to make a bigger social pressure and constitute a change force.For this, the causes, in general, suggest “desirable practices” for the people that integrateit, tools needed to make gestures that demonstrate their adherence and lead to theappropriate pressure to achieve their goals.The strong presence of “important” and actual topics on the causes give the count of theimportance of those as participation and opinion spaces for the people, and shows aparticipant society that follows to make changes for the “most” benefit.This characteristics convert it not only in ideal spaces to protest, also in the cyberactivismsupport per excelence. 11
  12. 12. In spite of said, some causes didnt have cyberactivism characterísitcs. This occurred by theabsence of high social impact goals and the lack of protest tools, on the way of hackerethics.On the causes the didnt present cyberactivism characteristics, it been detected 5 topicsrelated to “banal” topics, such as entertainment and amusement. On those it found: theproposal of a chilean alcoholic brevage as “worlds drink”, the petition of instalation of aStarbucks cafe in Concepción, the petiton to re-open a nightclub at Concepción, thedemonstration the Chile can pass into the Football (Soccer) World Championship, and thestatement 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 GranConcepción Area), Politics (Chile Network), Social Assistance (Chile Network), Transport(Chile Network and Gran Concepción Area), Culture (Chile Network), Religion (GranConcepción Area) and Technological 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, dontexisting predominance on topics with any characteristic.The topic Extreme Domestic Violence, with 55 groups and 8 causes, had at theinvestigation time 105,427 users. This topic didnt present derivative topics and only hadone particular group: “¡No más femicidios en Chile!” (Female murders no more!).Extreme Domestic Violence presents clearly characteristics of cyberactivism, donthave private organizers and exists a big proliferation of brethren groups and causes withdifferent creators. On this sense, striking the explosive growth that the number of usershad during the investigation, demonstring big recruitment activity and new usersintegration.The topic called to get awareness about the way that que domestic violence origins mosttimes crimes of physical and psychological aggression and crimes against the couple, andto bury where it is evident. The suggerence of the mentioned practices is a way to delivertools to fight a social problem that is a characteristic of cyberactivism.The topic Politics, with 2 groups and 1 cause, had at the investigation time 3,494 users.The topic didnt have derivative topics and counted just with one particular group: “Chilecon Todos” (Chile with all).Politics presented weak characterístics of cyberactivism, because meanwhile exists somesuggestions of conduct and tryings for an identity creation, the existence of hierarchyreveals a centralized netowrk, discarding this topic as cyberactivism.The reason is that have private organizers, in this case Sebastián Piñera, thats becausedont exist brethren groups and causes with different organizers. Also, the low growth thatthe cause have during the investigation time demonstrate a minimum recruitment and newmembers integration activity.The topic call the people to participate on the creation of a citizenship-based governmentplan, but making propaganda about the candidate Piñera.Although when the suggestion for participation on the generation of this plan, apparentlyconstitutes a way to combat the electoral absenteeism and rise the youth vote, have a clearpropaganda goal. In other words, this campaign didnt follow a social benefit, just electoral 12
  13. 13. advantage.The topic Wrong Social Practices, with 16 groups and 2 causes, and had at theinvestigation time 7,866 users. The topic didnt have derivative topics and counted withonly one group: “No al Chile Flaite” (Say NO to Naff Chile).Wrong Social Practices present clear characteristics of cyberactivism: didnt haveprivate organizers and exists a big proliferation of brethren groups and causes withdifferent organizers.In this sense, the number of users had a big growth during the investigation, with greatactivity on recruitment 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 anddeliver a social punishment to the perpetrators of these vilified practices. The abovesuggestions seek to achieve a more educated society with attitudes that not cause fornational shame.The topic Delinquency, with 13 groups and 3 causes, had at investigation time 4,806users. The topic didnt present derivative topics and count with only one group inparticular: “Mano dura con los delincuentes en Chile, por favor!” (Tough on criminals inChile, please!).Delinquency presents clear chracteristics of cyberactivism. Is a topic that dont haveprivate organizers and exists a light proliferation of brethren groups and causes withdifferent 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 JudiciaryPower for the so-called delinquency “revolving door”, that allows that accomplishedcriminals remain free.For this reason, and for the growth insecurity sensation that derives from above, the activepeople awareness and the manifestation of social unrest through protests. In this way, aharder law is wanted and finish with the called “guarantees providing judges”, restoringthe death penalty and other legal tools such as the suspect detentions and the streetsmilitarization.The topic Abortion, with 2 groups and 2 causes, had at the investigation time 2,869 users.The topic didnt have derivative topics and counts only with one particular group: “No a laLegalización del Aborto en Chile” (Say NO to the Legalization of Abortion in Chile).Abortion presents dubious cyberactivism characteristics. This because an almost nullproliferation of brethren groups and causes that allows infer the existence of a convenerorganization, which breach a main feature of the cyberactivism.Consequently, the number of users experienced marginal growth during the investigation,giving an account 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 publichealth initiative that allows the modification on the law aimed to liberalizing whatconstitutes abortion for the organizers for more specific reforms relating to therapeuticabortion and emergency contraception (Postinal, Postinor 2, Levonorgestrel, and others).This legal and civic offensive wants to avoid to legalize this medical practice on themedium and long term.Delivers behavior suggestions to combat pro-abortion policies. However, the poor call forthis item makes 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 13
  14. 14. lack of social 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 studentsand alumni on different colleges and high schools. Moreover, was detected the presence ofimportant topics that didnt presented cyberactivism characteristics.The topic Transport, with 9 groups and 3 causes, had at the investigation time 2,783users. This topic didnt present derivative topics and count only with one particular group:“Licitación al transporte Coronel-Lota !!” (Public tender for the Coronel-Lotatransportation).Transport presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The non existence of privateorganizers is notorious as exists a big profileration of brethren groups and causes withdifferent creators.Is striking the low growth on the users number during the research, based on a poorrecruitment and new members registering activity. Although, the subject presents a widecall on the area where is settled, reflecting a meaning concerning for this kind of topics.This topic call the users to protest against the transportation businessmen abuse, as a wayto improve the public transportation on Gran Concepcións Area and stop bad mannersand abusive fees through a better control and action from the transportation authority.In this case, the suggestion of above practices constitutes a tool to achieve that authoritytake effective measures to improve definitively the transportation on Gran Concepciónarea.About the causes with separated topics on Chile NetworkOn the causes of this area it could watch a high quantity of “important” topics, setting aclear predominance over the “banal” topics.The topic Culture, with 11 groups and 5 causes, had at the time of this investigation65,170 users. This topic didnt have derivative topics and only count with one particularcause: “Bajen los precios de los libros en Chile!” (Reduce the books prices in Chile!).Culture presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The absence of private organizerswas confirmed by a big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with differentorganizers. Reaffirming above, it watched a big growth on the number of users during theresearch, giving signs of high recruitment and new members registration activity.The topic wants to eliminate the tax over the books, allegedly the main cause on the highprices of the original publications on Chile, generating exclusion on wide sectors ofnational population, that cant afford this cultural resources and the growing of a blackmarket with pirate copies. It suggested, as change tools, cultural manifestations, protestsagainst the high prices and to share books to avoid the cultural exclusion.The topic Environment, that include a main cause and brethren groups and causes have45 groups and 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” (PatagoniaNo Dams), with 39 groups and 18 causes as brethren. The derivative topic at the time ofinvestigation had 38,465 users. This topic call to protest against the installation of fivehydroelectric centrals and its dams through the rivers Pascua and Baker, known as AysenHydroelectric Project, that will flood wilderness lands and, allegedly, get prejudice therising tourism industry on the chilean Patagonia. 14
  15. 15. This practice suggested it constitute a tool to get the action of authority and the Congressto avoid the execution of project by HidroAysén (Colbún and Endesa Chile) and generate alaw according the 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 forrecruitment and new members registration.Resources Saving with one particular cause, “Ahorra agua dúchate con alguien” (Savewater, share de shower with someone) with 6 groups and 3 causes as brethren. Thisderivative topic had 53,041 users at the investigation time. This topic strikes on the savingof drinking water getting a shower at the same time with some other, as a policy to savenatural resources and take action by saving drinking water.The suggested practices are constituted by tools to avoid the wasting of natural resourcesthat affects the capitalist society.The topic had a big growth on users during the research, with a considerable activity forrecruitment and new members registration.As a summary, Environment presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. Thepresence of derivative topics and the big proliferation of brethren groups and causes,reinforcing the statement that this topic dont have particular organizers.Generally, the topic wants to generate a environmental awareness and more effectivelegislation to prevent corporate abuses in this area.The topic Transport, that including the main cause and brethren groups and causes have30 groups and 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 particularcause, “Metro all Night Long” with 2 groups and 1 cause. This topic at the time of theinvestigation, including the main cause and brethren groups ans causes had 101,720 users.Proposals for the improvement of the Transportation services call the people todemand a collective way that the administration of Metro extend the service of theunderground train all night long, contributing to the safety of people that work on thenight and dont have transportation at that schedule.The suggestion of this practices constitutes as a social pressure tool to achieve the goalabove.This topic had a big growth during the investigation, showing a high recruitment and newmembers register activity. Although the poor proliferation of brethren groups and causes,the high social impact and call of this topic, demonstrate that dont exists privateorganizers, as dont exists minority interests on the topic.Protest against the fee rise with a particular cause, “NO AL ALZA DEL PASAJEESTUDIANTE EN 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 Valparaíso 7 area to protest againstthe abusive ticket fees and exaggerated price rises for a transportation service.By other side, on the brethren groups and causes was watched a strong national tendencyto protest against this kind of problems, also by a high unrest related with the bad mannersfrom the transportation 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. 15
  16. 16. Protest against the fee rise experiment a limited growth during the investigation time,because a moderated recruitment and new members register activity.Accordingly, Transport presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The presence ofderivative topics and the big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with differentcreators, reinforces the statement that this subject havent private organizers.Generally, the topic wants to improve the transportation services on Chile and stop theabuses and bad manners against the users.The topic Politics, including main cause and brethren groups and causes, counts with 24groups and 3 causes, with 14,299 users.This topic dont present derivative topics and counts only with one particular cause: “Fin alSistema Electoral Binominal” (Ending of Binominal Electoral System).Politics presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The big proliferation of brethrengroups and causes with different creators, reinforcing the statement that dont existsprivate organizers.The great growth on the number of members during the investigation reaffirmed above,striking on a high recruitment and new users registration activity. This topic suggest themanifestation of the people to generate social pressure, becoming a tool to make effectivethe Congress action to modify the Constitution and to finish the excluding of the out-congress politic forces, rising the citizen participation and the authorityrepresentativeness.The topic Social Support, includes a main cause and brethren groups and causes, countswith 81 groups and 5 causes, with 19,002 users.This topic dont present derivative topics and counts with only one particular cause: “UnTecho Para Chile” (One Ceiling for Chile).Social Support presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism, as dont have privateorganizers fact that is reaffirmed by the big proliferation of brethren groups and causeswith different creators. The cause experimented a big growth on the number of membersduring the investigation, striking on a big recruitment and new users registration activity.The call to participate on Social Support campaigns like Un Techo para Chile, constitutesas a powerful 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, establishinga clear predominance 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:“Santuario Ciudad para Concepción” (Sanctuary for Concepcion City).Religion dont present cyberactivism characteristics. The null presence of brethrengroups and causes, reveal the existence of private organizers. The null growing of themembers number during the investigation, shows a poor activity.The cause dont suggest any practice to reach the goal of build a Sanctuary on Concepción,so there is not social pressure to create a tool for the objective achievement.The topic Transport, that including the main cause and brethren groups and causes have9 groups and 3 causes, and had at the investigation time 2,741 users, presenting 2derivative topics:Proposals for the improvement of the Transportation services with the 16
  17. 17. particular causes “Biotren Para Coronel” with 9 groups and 2 causes and, “Licitación altransporte en Coronel-Lota !!” with 9 groups and 2 causes.This derivative topic includes main causes and brethren groups and causes, counting with2,741 users.Meanwhile, the cause “Biotrén Para Coronel” call the people to protest asking that theBiotren service extends to Coronel, the cause “Licitación al transporte en Coronel-Lota !!”call to protest asking the authority call to a public tender to the transportation servicesbetween Concepción and Lota.The relationship between both causes is not only by topic, but that it can watch the peoplestrouble with the public transportation services that travel from Concepción to Coronel andLota, generating the need to count with alternative services.Although, this can be watched partially, because there is not more causes or groups thatask for the extension of Biotren to Lota, on an explicit way.That causes had a little growth on the users number during the investigations, giving countof a minimal recruitment and new members integration activity.Road Infrastructure with one particular cause: “En Concepción el ferrocarril debe sersoterrado” (In Concepción, the train must be underground) with 9 groups and 2 causes.This derivative topic at the investigation time, including the main cause and other groupshad 2,741 users.Road Infrastructure call the people to manifest to the authority on the Public WorksMinistry to make an underground train, improving the citys territorial integration and theopeness of this to the Biobío river.The suggested practice is converted on a social pressure tool, to achieve a definitiveresolution form the authority.The poor growth on the users number during the investigation, give account on the littlerecruitment and new members registration activity.Transport presents clear characteristics of cyberactivism. The existence of derivativetopics and the big proliferation of brethren groups and causes with different creators,demonstrate the absence of private organizers.This topic wants to improve the transportation services and the road infrastructure onGran Concepcion 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 causesand in the investigation time had 227 users, presenting 2 derivative topics:Energy Sustainability with two particular causes, “No MATEMOS Coronel” (Dont killCoronel) and “No más termoeléctricas en Coronel” (No more thermoelectric in Coronel),both with two brethren causes. This derivative topic at the investigation time, including themain cause and the brethren causes had 227 users. In this topic the people are called toprotest against the installation of thermoelectric power centrals in Coronel, becauseenvironmental 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 humedalesurbanos” (Save the urban wetlands) and two brethren causes. This derivative topic had 227users at the investigation time. It call the people to protest against the change on thebuilding regulations in Concepción, as this change can establish that wetlands are buildingzones. This can alter the biodiversity and the nature patrimony of Concepción. 17
  18. 18. The poor growth on the members number during the investigation demonstrate a lowrecuirtment activity.Environment presents questionable cyberactivism characteristics. This is, althoughexists derivative topics, the low brethren causes proliferation (just 3) with differentcreators questions the absence of private organizers.This topic wants to generate sustainable ecological awareness in Concepción and anenvironmental law that protect effectively the nature diversity present on the city.The topic Technological Democratization, that had only one main cause, having 53users at the investigation time.This topic dont have derivative topics and have only one particular cause: “Coronel Digital/ Wi-Fi para todos” (Digital Coronel / Wi-Fi for all). Technological Democratizationpresents weak characteristics of cyberactivism by the null existence of brethren groups andcauses supports the statement that exists private organizers. The poor growth on themembers number during the investigation, reaffirms above and shows a low recruitmentand new members registration activity.This topic calls the people to ask the authority the installation of wireless networking overall Coronel city, allowing a major access and reducing the technological gap in Chile.Accordingly, the practices suggestion establishes a social pressure tool, motivating theauthority action.ConclusionThe Internets Social Networks are mainly an amplification of our nearest social circle.Thats because on the social network sites the existent links are reinforced, more thancreate 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,generally people dont know nor want to know others online, but want to reaffirm theirfamiliar and friendship links that have from its routine. Consequently, the Social Networkson Internet are formed mainly with people that are part of the offline circle of eachindividuals.Other characteristic of Social Networks on Internet is it anarchical and horizontalstructure. The lack of control over the millions of nodes that form this network allows itsorganization on a distributed way and without major controls nor information hoarding.This allows a robust communications flow, that derives on a major access to theinformation and a minor probability to limit that access.To the above characteristics it sum the fact that the communications on the SocialNetworks on Internet dont have time nor fixed space, because it can establish withoutphysic or temporal proximity. This means that it dont care how far away a person is fromother 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 willcan know if have some messages or to know some important information that wasgenerated on that time.The Social Networks reflect the way of being and the context in that each individualdevelops, since they will realize that others, which circles frequented, etc. The abovecharacteristics give the social activism on Internet a fast and reliable way to gain adepts.The growth possibilities are exponential and are one pass away. This goes associated withthe network effect. In other words, any campaign that be important for the nearest friendsmore easily for the person too. 18
  19. 19. The netwoks distribution allows moreover a fast becoming between the users campaign, sothat it will most likely be able to expand with speed. The information safety on thisstructure, protects the cyberactivism action of whom oppose it.Finally, the timelessness and spacelessness of the message allow more people have accessto this campaign, regardless of the time available or where they are. Resuming, Facebookdelivers two tools 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 byinstitutions and people with similar tastes and hobbies. Despite this, the groups are alsoused as a tool of protest, awareness and expression of ideas. For its part, the causes,because of their innate characteristics are consolidated, as the experience of this study, asthe main vehicle for cyberactivism. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the complementarity ofthese tools presented in practice, suggests the consolidation of both overall and a goodsupport 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 meetingspaces in Chile network in general. By contrast, the trend of cases reflected a greaternumber of relevant issues 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 correlationbetween both geographical areas on this study. However, this statement will be limitedbecause this characteristic was found only in two of the eleven topics detected.The present investigation posed different alternatives for future research. One of those isthe establishment of main groups and causes of other local areas through a country, for ina medium term can to pose a national situation of cyberactivism, as well as identify theissues that move more to the Chileans and should be present on the public agenda. Otheralternative is to deepen only in important topics of that hypothetical future studies. Thiscould be done by increasing the number of groups and causes as well as analyzed excludingthose items considered banal. 19
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