This article analyzes the impacts of the process of appropriation of social media on social movement organizations and leaders. It focuses on the case of the Chilean student movement and the cycle of protests that began in 2011. The analysis is based on a multimethods approach, bringing together content analysis of qualitative interviews and focus groups, and three years of network data on Twitter users. It shows that the appropriation of Twitter not only reproduced but actually reinforced preexisting asymmetries among actors. However, during the period studied, organizations put in motion control strategies to try to overcome these asymmetries and to use them to their advantage. Paradoxically, some of these led to greater asymmetries instead of greater equalization. Social movement theories on organizational forms and internal democracy demonstrate the continuous relevance of the “paradoxes of participation,” as social movements include new digital technologies in their traditional repertoires.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.