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While Facebook and Tuenti, its Spanish equivalent, hold the duopoly of the entertainment in Spain, Twitter is becoming a new source of journalistic information, though it still has a long way to go.
September 18; Pedro J. Ramirez, the editor of the national newspaper ‘El Mundo’, twitted “3 injured by falling helicopter in the heart of Puerto de Santa Maria (Cadiz) I learned from tweeters. They might have + details”. This demonstrates that the social network has stopped being only an informative source for citizens and turned into a source of immediate first hand information for different mass media outlets.
But what happens with the educational function? Even though social networks are usually more orientated towards information and entertainment, Twitter is turning into a tool that helps tweeters form critical opinions about diverse matters of current importance — all thanks to the possibility of dialog and interaction among mass media, professionals and users.
The clearest example in Spain is the role gained by Twitter in the expansion of the movement #15M, derived from the union of the platforms #nolesvotes and #democraciarealya, that arose as a protest against the big political parties in Spain.
First, all the comments, reflections, complaints, requests and suggestions were articulated around successive hash-tags, which served to summarize the spirit of the protests. Secondly, Twitter become the principal tool to promote and organize the protest campaigns all over Spain and even in other countries.
Thirdly, all conventional media used Twitter as one of their principal sources of information to fully encompass what was happening. And finally, Twitter acquired a political character for the Spanish people ever since. The use of Twitter like a forum of debate and a tool to form public opinion has politicized the social network in Spain.
Soon, everyone with something to say hurried to show his or her support or rejection to the movement. The account @acampadasol started to gain followers by the second and in a few days went above the number of followers of the principal Spanish political parties. The Spanish elections are closed by now.
In retrospect, not all found Twitter to be the political answer — During the first two days of being online, Mariano Rajoy, leader of the principal opposition party, saw his Twitter profile get bombarded with silly comments and questions. Moral: In spite of its power, Twitter is not the goose that lays the golden eggs.
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