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Activism and Social Media: Youth Participation and Communication


  • Antonio Cortés-Ramos

    (Department of Developmental Psychology and Education, Faculty of Psychology and Speech Therapy, University of Malaga, 29010 Malaga, Spain)

  • Juan Antonio Torrecilla García

    (Department of Economy and Business Management, Faculty of Social Studies and Labor, University of Malaga, 29010 Malaga, Spain)

  • Miguel Landa-Blanco

    (Degree in Clinical Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, National Autonomous University of Honduras, Tegucigalpa 11101, Honduras)

  • Francisco Javier Poleo Gutiérrez

    (INCIDE (Inclusión, Ciudadanía, Diversidad y Educación), 29013 Malaga, Spain)

  • María Teresa Castilla Mesa

    (Department of Didactic and School Organization, Faculty of Education, University of Malaga, 29010 Malaga, Spain)


Background: Digitalization and hyperconnectivity generate spaces for youth participation in social activism through social media platforms. The purpose of this research was to analyze young people’s online experience in social activism movements, including their preferences, themes, usage of language, and perceived impact. Methods: The research is framed within a qualitative interpretative–descriptive paradigm. Five focus groups were conducted, including 58 high school students from Malaga, Spain. Results: Several themes were identified through the coding process, including technological devices and social media preferences, participation in social movements or activism, perception of the degree of participation, the focus of interest, motivation for involvement, language use on social media, and beliefs. Conclusions: In a hyperconnected world, youth participation in social movements becomes more relevant. Their interest is reflected in the enormous potential that this social participation of young people has through networks and virtual platforms, becoming an informal communication model with characteristics to be an effective vehicle for social transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Cortés-Ramos & Juan Antonio Torrecilla García & Miguel Landa-Blanco & Francisco Javier Poleo Gutiérrez & María Teresa Castilla Mesa, 2021. "Activism and Social Media: Youth Participation and Communication," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(18), pages 1-13, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:13:y:2021:i:18:p:10485-:d:640072

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clarke, Killian & Kocak, Korhan, 2020. "Launching Revolution: Social Media and the Egyptian Uprising’s First Movers," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 1025-1045, July.
    2. Hank Johnston, 2019. "The Elephant in the Room: Youth, Cognition, and Student Groups in Mass Social Movements," Societies, MDPI, vol. 9(3), pages 1-19, August.
    3. Antonio Baraybar-Fernández & Sandro Arrufat-Martín & Rainer Rubira-García, 2021. "Public Information, Traditional Media and Social Networks during the COVID-19 Crisis in Spain," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(12), pages 1-14, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ines Nelly Saltiel & Pantelis Sklias, 2023. "From Schoolyards to Government: A Comparative Analysis of the Positive Effect of Teenager Participation in Local Governance," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 12(11), pages 1-15, October.
    2. Terhi-Anna Wilska & Matilda Holkkola & Jesse Tuominen, 2023. "The Role of Social Media in the Creation of Young People’s Consumer Identities," SAGE Open, , vol. 13(2), pages 21582440231, May.
    3. Serafina Castro-Zamudio & Enrique Viguera & Antonio Cortés-Ramos & María Teresa Castilla-Mesa & Daniel Valbuena-Díaz & Isabel Moreno-Madrid, 2022. "Satisfaction, Assessment and Adaptation to a Virtual Environment of the University Mentoring Programme GuíaMe-AC-UMA for Gifted High School Students," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(9), pages 1-15, May.

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