Anti-capitalist protest groups are increasingly turning to social networking websites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to effectively coordinate their protests surrounding the G20 conference in London.
Protesters are using these social networking platforms for organising protest marches, mobilising support, and publicising campaigns. Along the same line, several videos from Saturday’s “Put People First” protest march have been uploaded on YouTube, and thousands of images from the march have been shared through Flickr.
Although online space has long been used by the protesters for organising protest campaigns, but the advent of social networking phenomenon, along with advanced mobile phone technology, has made the task a lot easier.
Besides, the protesters are using the concept of ‘flashmobbing’, which includes arranging gatherings of people using text messages, and it paves way for gathering large number of people at short notice.
The 24-hour Climate Camp ‘flashcamp’ organised earlier this week in the Square Mile was actually created using the notion of ‘flashmobbing’. However, since last couple of weeks or so the police officials have been closely monitoring the social networking websites in a bid to deal with these protest campaigns in a better way.
Protesters are using the ‘hash tags’, keyword followed by #, which helps in finding tweets related to the subject quite easily, and the hash tag ‘#G20’ shows number of tweets from protesters, supporters, and other web users.
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The very nature of Facebook and Twitter make them ideal for organising events in quasi real time. Interestingly, the public bodies including the police are already aware of this fact. Councils are already targeting benefit fraudsters through Facebook, the government is studying plans to implement a giant communications database and it is likely that the protest have made their plans even clearer.