Identities in Conflict
Hashtag Identity: Semiotics of The Spanish 15M Protest
Universitat de Barcelona
“The electronic medium […] presents us with a channel which facilitates and constraints our ability to communicate in ways that are fundamentally different from those found in other semiotic situations”1. We believe that the description and analysis of these ways and means are an increasingly urgent task to which linguists are called. Therefore, it is justified a study on the Twitter resources within the CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication). Twitter recycles existing resources and generates new ones, within the latter, the most relevant and peculiar due to its semantic and pragmatic burden, its communicative potential, its formal and innovative functional features is the hashtag.
As an example for the analysis, there are taken the hashtags used by the movement called 15M extracted from a corpus made for the occasion. The social role of the movement throughout the last two years in Spain, its international diffusion via the Internet (which achieved virality) and the strategic use of social networks like Twitter, seem good reasons for choosing these users as good examples of a particular use and of an increasingly widespread Twitter: the citizen journalism. The description is intended to show how this semiotic element “#”, icon of the virtual organization of the 15M discourse, has been converted into a metaphor of the global and social organization that proclaims the movement. Hashtags are a dual organizational and ideological tool, which the 15M has taken – following the Arab Spring school – as...
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