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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Social media reaches social movements


Courtesy of Juan Carlos Hernandez

Justin Wedes gets arrested at Occupy Wall Street in September 2011 while speaking on a megaphone in Zuccotti Park. Wedes will speak at the “Social Movements in the Digital Era” seminar discussing social media’s role in social movements.

Social media has the power to change the way social movements work by providing tools to expand, reach and influence.

“Social Movements in the Digital Era” is a seminar series by the Center for Latin American Studies’ Virtual Dialogues that takes place today at 4 p.m. in the Union Kiva Room on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center.

Eric Franqui, a Latin American studies graduate student, helped organize the event and said he’s excited to have Justin Wedes speak. Wedes was one of the primary organizers of Occupy Wall Street in New York and is currently working in Detroit helping  with social activism.

Wedes said he will be talking about how many social movements have emerged in the last couple of years in the U.S. and around the world. He will analyze how social media is used to rally and mobilize people in the streets.

Social media and social networks are tools that enable people to connect to people and organizations with similar interest across large geography, Wedes added, saying there are no longer boundaries.

Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat are being used by activists in the field, Franqui said.

Wedes said he believes that no matter what technology is being used, it will never change the need for people to raise their voices and take direct action, such as protests, to put pressure on people in power.

Along with Wedes, there will be two other panelists.

Franqui said that Bernardo Gutiérrez, a writer, photographer and journalist, will join via a teleconference system.

Also in attendance will be journalist and UA associate professor Celeste González de Bustamante.

Franqui said this seminar will give students — who may have seen protests around the world — the chance to get involved or learn more about political movements.

He said it’s important for students and community members to show up, especially with Tucson’s long history of social activism.

“I think anybody who’s interested in social movements should come and learn about tools and how you can use them to advocate for your own causes on campus and within the community,” Wedes said.


Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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