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May 28, 2008

Filed under: tech»web

Twitter and the New Protest

Like every hip young person online, I've gotten myself a twitter account. My initial impressions are that I don't particularly care for the terminology: followers? Was "watchers" not creepy or sheep-like enough?

Anyway, if you are also on Twitter, I'm open to invitations. Additionally, I'm looking for suggestions of people who are interesting or innovative users of the service. I don't think I'll be broadcasting very much at the moment, but I'm interested in how other people are getting value from it.

To some extent, this is leading up to a low-priority project I'm starting: as anyone who attended college with me knows, I've been fascinated for a long time by what I call "guerrilla rhetoric"--rarely during my undergraduate career could anyone get me to shut up about Otpor, for example. But during the last few years, thanks in part to mobile phones and a much more flexible set of web standards, we've started to see examples of smarter protest and resistance movements using information and communciation technology to coordinate or publicize their work.

I've realized that I don't know as much as I'd like to about these developments, which I find fascinating. So I'm going to start reading up on the subject much more thoroughly, starting with Gene Sharp's work on nonviolent protest. Also, I've set up a linkstream where I'm going to start tagging my online research--there's not much there yet, just the Youtube videos from Anonymous and some stuff I remember from B-SPAN--but if anyone runs into anything, I'd appreciate a heads-up. Eventually this might be a subject that I'd be interested in exploring through grad school (he gazed enviously at Berkeley's doctoral program in Rhetoric), but that's probably a few years off.

Future - Present - Past