Social Media and the Mexican Elections

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Enrique Peña Nieto

Enrique Peña Nieto

Appearing at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, former governor of the State of Mexico and PRI party candidate for the Mexican Presidency Enrique Peña Nieto, was prepared to speak about his new book. What he was not prepared to discuss were three books that had impacted him. The candidate’s rambling answer to the aforementioned question- mentioning the Bible, and mistaking one famous Mexican author for another- produced a firestorm on Twitter, and also revealed the popularity and power of this medium in Mexico.

Libreria Peña Nieto (Pena Nieto Bookstore) quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, with Mexicans sharing their versions of the politician’s favorite books, with plenty of room for puns and plays on words. A highly retweeted tweet played on the difference between Peña, a common Spanish last name, and pena, which means shame or hurt, as well as Nieto, which means grandson in Spanish. The tweet said, “my grandmother said: if you don’t read when you grow up you’ll bring shame, grandson”.  Anyone who didn’t believe that Twitter was popular in Mexico would have to change their mind after witnessing the controversy, which didn’t play out with a Like button, but rather with a hashtag. As the Mexican presidential elections approach in the summer of 2012, it will be interesting to see how social media continues to influence the narrative.

This post is also available in: Spanish

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