Online tools and the Burma protests

September 30, 2007, [MD]

I have been following the Burma protests, carefully optimistic, hoping that the great powers will take this opportunity to speak up and be pro-active, especially the other ASEAN countries. Now it looks like that is not going to happen, although I keep hoping, impressed with the great courage displayed by the citizens of Burma.

I came across an interesting writeup of the different online tools that have been used to rouse attention around the world, and what’s striking is that this might be the movement where Facebook Groups really “grew up” as political tools:

The Support the Monks’ protest in Burma Facebook Group - To be honest, I’ve never really thought Facebook would provide a terribly useful platform for political activism as the ‘groups’ often seem a peripheral part of Facebook’s design. However, I happily stand corrected as the exponential growth of the Support the Monks’ protest in Burma Facebook Group has been amazing - over 170,000 members when I checked this morning - and the links, advice and descriptions of how members can actively support the Burmese demonstrations in that group seems quite robust to me, not just a tokenistic gesture. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say this Facebook group has probably done more to promote the ‘ Day of International Action for a Free Burma - Free Aung San Suu Kyi & Support the Monks in Burma’ on October 6th than any other single outlet online or offline.

Stian\ (thanks to Franz Patzig @ flickr for the photo)

Stian Håklev September 30, 2007 Toronto, Canada
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