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News or social mobilization? An exploratory study about the role of Twitter in the Spanish indignados protests

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This article intends to contribute to the debate on whether Twitter can be a complementary tool or an alternative to traditional media. Based on a qualitative and quantitative exploratory approach, the research focuses on the coverage of social issues to explore the informative capacities of Twitter. The sample consists of more than 1000 tweets covering the marches that occurred in Spain in July 2012 against the government’s public policies. The results show that less than 25 per cent of tweets could be considered as strictly informative. Due to its lack of informative focus, high degree of emotion, repetitive contents and personal writing marks, the power of Twitter seems to be rather an opinion and emotion net organizer than a reporting tool: we cannot consider it an informative source in the cases explored.
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Keywords: Spain demonstrations; Twitter; content analysis; protests movements; social change; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Autonomous University of Barcelona 2: University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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