Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Era
Edited By Moses Shumow
Chapter 9 – From Mediated to Mediator: How Youth Use Digital Media to Open the Public Sphere, Empower Activism and Reclaim Voice
~ Chapter 9 ~
FROM MEDIATED TO MEDIATOR: HOW YOUTH USE DIGITAL MEDIA TO OPEN THE PUBLIC SPHERE, EMPOWER ACTIVISM AND RECLAIM VOICE
Young people today are growing up in a context that is saturated with relational technologies and mediated communications; and in these new digital spaces, they develop preliminary frameworks for interpreting life, sets of opinions and prejudices, stereotypes and dilemmas, that guide their understanding of the meanings of everyday actions. It is also here that the experience of citizenship is at stake (Buckingham & Rodriguez, 2013, p. 11).
IN 2009, American student Walter Lara was weeks away from being deported to his birth country of Argentina. “I’m being deported. ” A single Tweet changed the course of his life, demonstrated the power of social media to steer the debate on immigration reform, and gave voice to the community of underrepresented, undocumented youth immigrants in the United States (Gastelum, 2011). His Tweet, which directed followers to sign a letter written by Sen. Bill Nelson (DFL) on Lara’s behalf, was the first of many in a viral media blitz orchestrated to keep Lara in the United States. From Twitter, he directed friends and followers to call Janet Napolitano, then-secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and the buzz created from Facebook posts and television interviews made him a veritable poster boy for immigration reform. In 2013, Lara graduated from Florida International University, his deportation having been indefinitely deferred. A member of a group...
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