Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Web 2.0 and political organizing, post-Obama

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After the U.S. Presidential election, a friend commented to me that every U.S. election from 2008 forward would look to copy the Obama campaign’s innovative use of social networking technologies. But it won’t be limited to the U.S., and it won’t be limited to elections:

Exhibit A:  The Australian government has proposed the introduction of mandatory content filters at ISPs. Coordinated protests were held today in Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, and Canberra in response. How best to coordinate them – and ensure turnout? Turn them into Facebook events, and list them with YouTube footage, printable flyers, response tracking data and contact info for government officials, and FAQs and links covering every possible aspect of the issue. You can find it all at Australia’s Electronic Freedom Project wiki

Post-script:  The Daily Telegraph is reporting that 300 showed up at Sydney’s event, most of whom were “young and tech-savvy.” It’ll be interesting to see whether issue-specific campaigns can generate the scale that an event like an election can. More thoughts on this later.

Exhibit B:  According to an Australian news source, the SITE Intelligence Group has reported that an online jihadist is advocating a “Facebook invasion,” to access a new audience for propaganda. No surprises there – if the technology exists, expect it to be exploited. What’s more interesting is this claim by a Bangladeshi general that social network technologies have effectively radicalized the Bangladeshi diaspora population in Britain. If accurate (and I’m going to assume that what we see on the web always adds some degree of distorting amplification) what does this mean on-the-ground?

What’s post-Obama practice for organizing political action, whether of the legitimate or illegitimate variety?

Written by Mark

December 13, 2008 at 9:54 pm

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