Raquel Recuero

Raquel Recuero headshot

Raquel is an associate professor at the Departments of Applied Linguistics and Social Communication in Universidade Católica de Pelotas (UCPel) in Brazil. Her research focuses on Internet social networks, virtual communities and computer mediated-communication in general, trying to understand the impact of the Internet in sociability and language in South America and Brazil.

She received her PhD in Communication and Information from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) for her dissertation on “Social Networks in Fotolog.com” in 2006, and has recently published her first book in Portuguese, Internet Social Networks (Redes Sociais na Internet: Sulina, 2009). She also has worked as a research consultant for several companies, including Google and UOL.

Raquel also maintains a blog on social media (in Portuguese) since 2001.

Blogs (27)

Brazil Internet ‘Bill of Rights’ Protects Web Users

Thursday, April 03, 2014

young boy walking in crowd wearing brazil flag on his back Leading the way toward protecting individual rights and freedom of expression on the Internet, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has approved a Bill of Rights, “Marco Civil.” The landmark legislation now awaits approval by Brazil’s Senate and president to become law.  Marco Civil was first conceived among scholars and online specialists as a movement against another bill proposed by Senator Eduardo Azeredo, who wanted to track transactions by every Internet user and provider. Ronaldo Lemos, a respected Brazilian academic, lawyer and commentator on intellectual property, technology and culture, is credited as a creator of Marco Civil,

Rolezinhos: Flash Mobs, Social Media and Teens

Monday, February 10, 2014

large group of teenagers dancing in the street youth voices t-shirts A new movement — the “rolezinhos” (meaning something like “hang out somewhere” or “little strolls”) — has taken hold in Brazil. Through social media, the rolezinhos started as a simple call for fun teen gatherings in malls, organized by teenagers. Because of their increasing popularity, however, they have evolved into something similar to a flash mob, attracting thousands of rowdy participants, causing some panic among mall vendors and sparking police clashes. Rolezinhos are a phenomenon that started with teens from the urban periphery of São Paulo. But teens — nearly 80% — all over Brazil engage

Social Media: Brazil’s Indigenous Tribes Go Online in their Struggle To Be Heard

Friday, September 06, 2013

screenshot of stop the belo monte dam facebook page Brazil has several marginalized groups that often don’t have a voice in government decision-making and are invisible to the majority of the country’s population. One such group, the country’s indigenous tribes, must constantly fight for their land against farmers and developers. Conflicts arise regularly but very few of them reach into the mainstream because they happen in isolated areas (for example, in the Amazon rainforest or in the Mato Grosso do Sul‘s savannah and swamp areas where several tribes are fighting to retain their lands). Confronted with the need to raise visibility and awareness of their

Social Media, Citizen Media, Online Tools Are Shaping Brazil’s Protests and Politics

Friday, June 28, 2013

large crowd of protesters rallying in brazil outside government building What started earlier this month as a protest against the cost of public transportation has spread like wildfire across Brazil. One estimate said protests have taken place in 430 cities. The range of issues has grown too, including education reform, high taxes, healthcare and public corruption. I’m not sure there has ever been so much discussion about the country by so many people using social media – and it has created some instability for the government. To begin to understand the story that is unfolding, two colleagues, Fabio Malini from the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo

The Role of Social Media, Citizen Media in Latest Anti-Government Unrest in Brazil

Friday, June 14, 2013

passe livre sao paulo political organization facebook group page Like Turkey, Brazil is seeing a wave of anti-government protests it hasn’t seen in years. Thousands of residents in several cities, including Brazil’s two biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are now organizing protests. Protests started in Sao Paolo after the government had authorized (another) increase in bus fares in the city. Through social media, the movement “Passe Livre” (Free Pass) formed online and quickly drew more than 50,000 supporters. Most of the protesters are university students, although officials said “anarchists” looking for a fight were also taking part. Mainstream media are portraying the

Social Networks Support Grieving, Healing in Aftermath of Brazilian Nightclub Tragedy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Webpage for Santa Maria killing article about volunteers supporting victims reletives On the early morning of Jan. 27, one of the most striking tragedies in Brazil’s history took place. A fire started and spread in a popular nightclub in Santa Maria, killing more than 230 people and wounding another 116. The fire began when members of a band ignited fireworks for special effect. A spark reached foam insulation in the ceiling, quickly filling the building with toxic smoke that killed the majority of the victims. Most of the victims were young students from local universities, between the ages of 17 and 20. Almost immediately, online social networks

Facebook, Public Education and Equity: A 13-year-old Fights for a “Better School”

Monday, October 08, 2012

diario de classe facebook group page Last April, 9-year-old Martha Payne created a blog to discuss the quality of the food served in her school called “Never Seconds.” In the blog, she discussed the quality (and quantity) of food available in her school using terms such as “food-o-meter” and “healthness.” The blog become an international hit and attracted the attention of several celebrities, including Jamie Oliver. Martha’s blog also increased awareness about the quality and quantity of food served in the UK’s (and the world’s) public schools, leading to several changes, including in Martha’s school. Inspired by Martha Payne’s case, Isadora Faber,

Social Media Discourse: Violence, Olympiads and Our Everyday Life

Thursday, August 23, 2012

person with facebook screen reflecting in their sunglasses All the world’s attention was recently focused on the Olympic Games in London. The competition was widely broadcasted by traditional and online media, with an astronomic audience, reaching many countries. Social media became a place for discussing, commenting and cheering for the athletes. However, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook also drew the world’s attention to the spread of violence and hate through discourse. Athletes were banned from the Olympiad because of racist and aggressive posts on social networking sites. A Greek triple jumper posted on Twitter: “With so many Africans in Greece, at

PortoAlegre.cc: Giving A City Back to Its Citizens

Monday, June 11, 2012

girl in sound booth working on laptop with headphones on Several new projects are trying to use cyberspace as a platform to help citizens build an information network and share information about their cities. One effort that has achieved significant traction is PortoAlegre.cc, a platform for the citizens of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil to interact, share information about their city, and mobilize for cause. The idea is to provide an online space for people to discuss the city’s problems and to collectively think about solutions. It was the fruit of a smaller project created by Rio dos Sinos

Social Media and Public Sphere: The #VetaDilma Movement and Brazil’s Forests

Friday, May 25, 2012

people filming interview in large art studio graffiti on the walls Today Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vetoed several parts of a controversial forest bill that had been approved by Brazil’s Congress and promoted by powerful agricultural interests. Until today, it was unclear how President Rousseff would decide and she did not opt for a full veto, which is what environmentalists had pushed for. But in recent weeks millions of Brazilians protested the bill, both online and offline. Given today’s actions by President Rousseff, this is a situation and outcome comparable to the online campaign mounted against the controversial SOPA legislation in the U.S. that was also backed

Brazil: Kids Using Digital Media to Teach Each Other, Change Culture

Monday, February 13, 2012

Internet Uvre students working in computer lab Last year, Rio de Janeiro saw the birth of a new type of battle in the streets of the favelas: the “Small Step Battle.” In this battle, hundreds of kids and teenagers from the poor parts of Rio are fighting with a major weapon: dance steps. Everyday, kids are posting videos of themselves performing creative and often very difficult ‘funk’ dance steps on YouTube. These videos are now a fever: some have millions of viewers. The battle is on and these kids are challenging others to create better (and often, even more difficult steps) to dance

#Occupy and Digital Media in Latin America: Observations

Monday, November 28, 2011

hundreds of men and women sitting on the ground holding up cameras Young people from many countries in Latin America have organized themselves and occupied public places just like their counterparts around the globe.  While some protesters are still camped, others are not.  In both instances, the spread of these ideas through digital media and social media has been impressive.  In Rio de Janeiro, a nonviolent occupation is happening in Cinelandia Square downtown.  More than 100 tents have been pitched and protesters have decorated them with placards opposing capitalism, consumerism and social inequality. The #OcupaRio movement has an ambitious agenda.  It is taking up specific local issues.  One

Learning, Freedom, Youth, and the Web: Brazil

Monday, October 10, 2011

girl holding up camera phone in crowd taking a photo Freedom of speech and social mobilization is new for many countries in Latin America. Most have had closed governments and dictatorships for the last 30 years. However, because of the spread of social media, political action, protests and activism have flourished. In Chile, for example, students have been leading protests demanding educational reform. Reports say more than 400,000 people have gathered in several of these marches. The protests, which have been drawing students to Plaza Italia in Santiago, have been organized with Twitter (for example, the umbrella march, when students protested under the rain and cold), Facebook

A Teenager Taps Social Media to Help Change his Struggling Community

Monday, June 20, 2011

large pictures of human portraits covering front of buildings in poor community “Intense shootings happening at this moment in the Complexo do Alemao!” tweeted teenager Rene Silva on Nov. 9, 2010.  Using his personal Twitter account (@Rene_Silva_RJ) and the Twitter account of a newspaper he created, “Voz da Comunidade,” (Community Voice – @vozdacomunidade), Rene was able to broadcast information about a standoff between police and drug traffickers from inside the “Complexo do Alemão,” one of the major groups of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. During the dangerous conflict, Rene and two other kids drew media attention in Brazil because they were able to send out news in real

Cyberbullying: An International Perspective

Thursday, March 24, 2011

artistic blurry photograph of person A viral video of an Australian boy retaliating against a bully at school has sharply ratcheted up offline and online discussions of cyberbullying. On websites in numerous countries, young and old alike have recounted their own bullying problems and there’s a sense that this is an universal phenomena. In Brazil, it has become increasingly common for kids to suffer from bullying not only in schools, but also on social networking sites. Many aggressive incidents are recorded by cell phones and posted on sites such as Youtube. Online communities are formed to ridicule these bullied students, and

Understanding the Rise of Social Networking in Brazil

Thursday, February 24, 2011

people sitting on the ground at conference working on computers Orkut was the first major social networking service to arrive in Brazil and it has just passed the seven-year mark. Although several other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are growing in popularity, Orkut maintains a strong leadership position and it is still growing. It’s intriguing to explore how and why Orkut established such a strong foothold on the Internet in a country that didn’t have high Internet adoption rates when Orkut first arrived in January 2004. As soon as Google launched Orkut, it spread rapidly among technology workers and students. People quickly became interested

Connected They Write: The Lure of Writing on the Web

Monday, January 24, 2011

young hip girl sitting outside working on laptop The massive adoption of digital media in the everyday life of teens has reshaped social and educational practices in Latin America. A digital divide persists but youth are increasingly more connected. In Chile, for example, more than 96 percent of all students have Internet access. In Brazil, almost 80 percent of the population between 16 and 24 years and almost 70 percent of those aged 10 to 15 accessed the Internet in 2009. With that kind of penetration, digital media is creating new ways to understand literacy, learning, reading, and especially, writing. Far from hurting the

Brazilian Elections and Emerging Webcitizenship

Monday, October 04, 2010

Global voices students sitting at computer in brazil Diego Casaes and Paula Goes from Global Voices Online have been instrumental in crowdsourcing efforts for the 2010 Brazilian elections. Oct. 3 was Election Day in Brazil. About 135 million Brazilians voted (in Brazil, voting is compulsory) for their candidates for president, state governors, senators, federal and district deputies. However, these elections took place in a new context. It was the first time Brazilians experienced the Internet playing a significant role in the media coverage and in the election itself. All the candidates for president and most of the other candidates have had websites and Twitter

Teens, Social Media, and Celebrity: Anatomy of an Incident

Friday, August 27, 2010

mc and I heart open web Recently, two Brazilian teenagers practicing sexting on Twitcam, became international news. More than 25,000 Twitter users watched the live transmission of the couple’s intimate moments. Copies of the video and screen shots quickly flooded other social networking sites. Several Twitter users who saw the images denounced the incident and it was reported to a local police chief. The police chief launched an investigation (all links in Portuguese) and contacted the boy, the girl, and their parents. The two teenagers (a 16-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl) said the broadcast was the result of a wager. The

Veiled Censorship: Social Media and Education in Brazil

Monday, July 19, 2010

young female students working together at computer in brazil Internet access in Brazil has been growing. Data from IBOPE/Net Ratings from December 2009 showed that Brazil had 67.5 million Internet users, with 1.2 million new users just since September 2009. Accessing the Internet from work, schools, and home are all on the rise. This growth has also fed social media usage in Brazil. According to data from CGI (Comitê Gestor da Internet), for example, almost 67% of Internet users access social networking sites such as Orkut and almost 90% use Internet for everyday communication. Interestingly and disturbingly, the use of social media in education and

Privacy and social media sites: a growing, global concern

Friday, June 04, 2010

3 shadows of people Raquel Recuero, a Brazilian professor, is an Internet culture researcher in South America. Wherever social networking sites have reached the mainstream, privacy seems to have become a more common worry for users. Brazilians, in general, have not thought much about social network privacy, but that is definitely changing. In the beginning of the social media phenomenon in Brazil, when Orkut started catching on (Orkut was the first SNS to grow significantly in the country), users shared almost everything. Social browsing (navigating through other people’s profiles) became the most common activity and finding new (and old) friends

Emergent Networks: Fotologs as Performances of the Self

Monday, May 24, 2010

black and white photo of girls shadows Raquel Recuero, a Brazilian professor, is an Internet culture researcher in South America. Fotolog, a photo-sharing site, grew quickly in South America, becoming one of the most popular social networking services in Chile, Brazil and other countries. Fotologs became interesting narratives of everyday life, carefully constructed by users to share the impressions they wanted to display for their audience. They became identity performances. A Gothic user I interviewed, for example, would only publish pictures in black and white, always accompanied by Gothic band lyrics. He said it was a way to “make a statement about himself.”

Facebook’s Games: Emerging Sociality

Monday, March 22, 2010

painting of butterflies Raquel Recuero is a professor of linguistics and communication in Brazil, and a researcher in social media and Internet culture in South America. The content of this post is based on her recent research about Facebook’s role-playing games. Social networking games are typically regarded as “casual” in the sense that they don’t require players to become so addicted to them, or to invest a lot of time in order to be enjoyed. Game mechanisms are simpler, allowing users, in many cases, just to point-and-click and the rules aren’t complex. Thus, one would doubt that RPGs (role

Information & Convergence: Twitter’s Practices in Brazil

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talk twitter banner in spanish Recent data from Hubspot showed that Twitter’s growth in Brazil is slowing down, but it is definitely in the mainstream population. Its role and its profile have grown, and more and more TV shows, magazines, and other media are using the tool in significant ways. The recent edition of “Big Brother Brasil” (a reality show where ordinary people are confined to a house under 24-hour camera surveillance – link in Portuguese) is one of the most popular programs in Brazil. It is using Twitter so that the participants can communicate with the outside world. One of

Social Networks and Civic Mobilization in Latin America

Monday, January 11, 2010

christalk tweet #projectoenchentes Translation of the Tweet: “People with more than one thousand followers: RT (Retweet) is a good way to contribute with #projetoenchentes (flood relief in Brazil).” Access to the Internet as well as social networking sites has been growing steadily and rapidly in Latin American countries, despite economic impediments. It is increasingly common to hear discussion of the growth of social network sites such as Facebook in Argentina. In one month, between October and November of 2009, the number of Facebook users in Argentina grew 10 percent, by 3.9 million users, to a total of 39.3 million,

Social Games and Facebook in Brazil and Latin America

Monday, December 14, 2009

farm game A recent post from Inside Facebook has shown that Facebook is growing fast in Latin America, and a large part of this growth is happening in Brazil (33 percent each month, according to the same set of data). Interestingly, other news pieces about research from institutes such as Ibope (link is in Portuguese) have also shown that social games are increasingly popular in the country, especially among young adults. One hypothesis researchers here have is that Facebook growth has spiked partially because of the burgeoning popularity of the social network’s apps, especially the games. Social games

Social Media in South America: Orkut & Brazil

Friday, November 13, 2009

Orkut banner Brazil To start my participation here in DMLcentral, I want to write about social media outside the U.S., specifically in South America. Let’s take the case of Orkut in Brazil, an interesting and relatively-unknown subject that I’ve researched and followed closely for years. Orkut is very much a cultural phenomenon in Brazil. Although Brazilians had experience with other social networking sites (Fotolog, for example, was very popular among young Brazilians in 2003 and 2004, before Orkut appeared), Orkut caused a revolution in Internet access in Brazil.  As Orkut grew quickly in Brazil starting in 2004, it became