New Open Access Book: Social Media in Emergent Brazil

Posted on October 23, 2017 by UCL Press

We are delighted to announce the publication of a brand new open access book: Social Media in Emergent Brazil by Juliano Spyer.

The penultimate book in the Why We Post series, which has had more than 275,000 downloads to date, Social Media in Emergent Brazil is based on 15 months of ethnographic research, aiming to explain why social media has had so much of an impact on the lives of low-income Brazilians. 

Since the popularisation of the internet, low-income Brazilians have received little government support to help them access it. In response, they have largely self-financed their digital migration. Internet cafés became prosperous businesses in working-class neighbourhoods and rural settlements, and, more recently, families have aspired to buy their own home computer with hire purchase agreements. As low-income Brazilians began to access popular social media sites in the mid-2000s, affluent Brazilians ridiculed their limited technological skills, different tastes and poor schooling, but this did not deter them from expanding their online presence. Young people created profiles for barely literate older relatives and taught them to navigate platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

Juliano Spyer explores why low-income Brazilians have invested so much of their time and money in learning about social media from a number of perspectives, including education, relationships, work and politics. He argues that the use of social media reflects contradictory values. Low-income Brazilians embrace social media to display literacy and upward mobility, but the same technology also strengthens traditional networks of support that conflict with individualism..

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