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Mediated Communities

Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Era

Moses Shumow

Mediated Communities brings together a diverse, global cohort of academics and professional communicators to assess the current state of democratic mobilizing around the world and the ways in which protest movements are being transformed in the midst of a communication revolution. Contributors draw on a variety of international settings – from Greece to Lebanon, China to Argentina – to demonstrate the ways in which community organizing in the digital age relies increasingly on digital media to communicate, help participants find common ground, and fight for change. Contributors acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead for creating real and lasting democratic change, but at the same time are able to draw attention to the potential that digital media hold for strengthening citizen voices around the globe.
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Chapter 9 – From Mediated to Mediator: How Youth Use Digital Media to Open the Public Sphere, Empower Activism and Reclaim Voice


~ Chapter 9 ~


Megan Fromm

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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