Hypothesis and Project Framework

Our project frames social media use in Mexico through how its users adapt platforms to fit their changing needs. With security a pressing concern in the country, many groups, including average citizens, activists, and media workers have begun to converge on this issue in addition to their primary interests. We are studying how various actors are using social media to address security concerns, and how the nature of the security conversation, as well as these actors’ interaction with each other in regard to security issues, is changing through the use of these relatively new platforms. The project is framed through the Public Sphere and Knowledge Dynamics Model, which examines participatory expression, judgement formation, and concept evolution.

Hypothesis 1: Mexico’s security situation is driving actors to use social media platforms to find and share information about security differently (compared to pre-2006 security information flows). We understand security in this context both as physical security as well as security of civil liberties, human rights, and wellbeing.

  • H1.1: Civil society is using social media to find and share information about security differently.
  • H2.1: Government is using social media to find and share information about security differently.
  • H3.1: Mainstream media outlets are using social media to find and share information about security differently.


Civil society includes NGOs  and individual citizens participating in cyberspace, including bloggers and twitterers. In studying government, we focus on federal government institutions, including security-related ministries (SEDENA, SEMAR, SSP) and the President’s Office, with some attention to important case studies at the state government level. For mainstream media, our project will focus on how media workers for newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are adapting to the use of social media in response to security needs.

Hypothesis 2: The convergence of different groups onto the same media platforms will alter how they interact with each other. We expect that alliances will form between civil society groups, government, and mainstream media on this issue. The shaded areas in the figure below demonstrate overlapping contact in forums that reflect common interests held by the three actors. These overlapping areas are the space in which alliances are likely to be formed between actors.

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