Social networks: communication and change

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Gustavo Cardoso

Coordinator of the Master Degree  in CCIC of the University Institute of Lisbon (IUL), researcher at CIES-IUL and
lecturer in Media and Society at ISCTE-IUL. He works with the Department for Communication and Performance
Studies of the University of Milan. His research path has taken him to cooperate with European research networks,
namely IN3 (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute) in Barcelona, WIP (World Internet Project) at USC Annenberg, COST
A20 "The Impact of the Internet on Mass Media", COST 298 "Broadband Society", and COST 609 "Transforming
Audiences”. He was an advisor in Information Society and Telecommunication Policies for the Presidency of the
Republic of Portugal (1996-2006), and in 2008 he was selected by the World Economic Forum as “Young Global
Leader”. Alongside Manuel Castells, he is the co-editor of the book "The Network Society: From Knowledge to
Policy" and Associate Editor of the journal IJOC at USC Annenberg and of the IC&S journal published by
Routledge. He is also a member of the evaluation panel of the European Research Council
and of the European Science Foundation.


Cláudia Lamy

Student in the Master Degree Programme in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies (ISCTE-IUL), and
a law graduate from the Faculty of Law (University of Lisbon). Over the past few years she has carried out research
in the fields of Political Communication and New Media at institutions such as OberCom (Communication Observatory),
Lini-ISCTE (Lisbon Internet and Networks Institute), CIES-ISCTE (Centre for Research and Sociology Studies),
CIMDE-IPL (Research Centre for Media and Democracy), and ERC (Regulatory Authority for the Media). Her published
works include approaches to Pluralism in the Media, Media Literacy, and Online Political Activism.



Virtual social networks have brought about the possibility for open and plural debate, where all those with the necessary literacy skills and means are able to participate in the creation and dissemination of information. By pressing political agents and determining the “agenda” of a lot of the media, users demonstrate that we stand at an ideal platform for creating both real social movements and more or less fleeting events, as manifestos or virtual campaigns.  Nonetheless, in order to understand the role of virtual social networks in today’s world, we need to answer some prior questions.  Are we facing a new communication model, whereby the product of “disinterested” interactivity creates an aura of confidence in disseminated information, often quite higher that that seen in the “old media”? Will that interactivity be a chance to fight-off citizens’ growing detachment with regard to the “res publica”? Will we find in citizen-made journalism, transmitted through virtual social networks, the consecration of a true fourth power? On the other hand, can we call the distinct collective movements we have seen emerging true “social movements”?

The present article aims to examine this and other issues that come to the fore in the intricate social world of cyberspace.


Social Movement; Social Networks; Internet; Networked Communication; Political Communication

How to cite this article

Cardoso, Gustavo; Lamy, Cláudia (2011). "Redes sociais: comunicação e mudança”. JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations, Vol. 2, N.º 1, Spring 2011. Consulted [online] on date of last visit,

Article received in September 2010 and accepted for publication in March 2010