Beginning in February 2013, researchers at the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR) at George Mason University began tracking the national immigration reform conversation on Twitter. Our view: Twitter would be one of several social media venues where the evolving immigration reform debate could be tracked and analyzed. Since then, using DiscoverText and NodeXL, two different data mining applications, we’ve collected nearly 3 million tweets containing the word “immigration.”
A study on social media use in Mexico found that Twitter users are taking up the role of informal correspondents on the sidelines of the country’s ongoing drug war. In cities like Monterrey, Veracruz, and Saltillo, Twitter users are spreading the word on shootings, arrests, and clashes between the cartels and police. And, researchers say, they’ve developed a kind of media-esque ecosystem that values traits like sourcing and attribution.
This is far from the first time conflict and citizen media have risen hand in hand, a pattern repeated in countries like Egypt and Syria, among others. That’s because there’s a common set of circumstances in many of these situations: “For many Mexicans, social media has become a fluid and participatory information platform that augments and often replaces traditional news media and governmental institutions,” the study says.
In a country with barely any Internet access, the activist Yoani Sánchez has managed, with a blog and a Twitter account as her only tools, to tell the outside world about repression in Cuba. This has brought her a couple of arrests and a dozen international awards, including a special mention from the Maria Moors Cabot Prize committee and the Ortega y Gasset prize for online journalism. But in Mexico, Cuba’s most famous dissident was given a decidedly cool welcome.
A couple of weeks ago, Sánchez finally got an exit visa to leave Cuba and started a three-month tour that will take her across Latin America, the United States and Europe. Her first stop in Mexico was in Puebla, two hours from Mexico City, at the annual meeting of the Inter American Press Association. When some of her Mexican friends asked politicians and nongovernmental organizations to host an event in her honor, they found no takers. At the conference itself she was harassed and insulted. Organizations no one had ever heard of published manifestos in local newspapers repudiating her visit.
‘War Correspondents’ In Mexico Address Mainstream Media Shortcomings, Use Twitter To Spread InformationFebruary 25, 2013
In Mexico’s drug-war-torn cities, a small number of Twitter users affected by narco violence are acting as war correspondents to the masses, providing a public-safety alert system of sorts, according to a recent research paper from Microsoft, called “The New War Correspondents: The Rise of Civic Media Curation in Urban Warfare.”
These “curators,” tweeting with hashtags like #mtyfollow, #reynosafolllow, #saltillo and #verfollow, produce an inordinately high number of tweets compared to other users, informing people about recent violence, clashes and other news in regions where traditional news outlets have engaged in self-imposed blackouts to avoid narco violence.