In browsing the internet for links between social networking and social protests, one of the first things I found was a website called “Activist Passions,” an online dating site for activists seeking a partner who is not only looking for love, but to change the world. If there is an online dating site for activists, why shouldn’t they have their own social network? Especially when there are so many important reasons why they should.
In my last post, I mentioned some of the complications of using social networking for social protests. Since information is posted on public websites, police and security also know exactly when and where groups plan to demonstrate. Even information sent “privately” in messages, is still technically owned by that social networks company, and can be subpoenaed from the government. (Captain, 2011)
The specific project that Occupy techies have been working on is called Global Square. According to RoarMag.org, “The structure is designed for organization and coordination of personal relationships, assemblies and action, the platform is also conceived for independent work systems, movements struggling for civil causes and more” (Noel, 2012). Although the idea behind this was originally privacy for planning events and open discussions, The Global Square also hopes to use this to reach out to the masses.
With this new social network being so specific, one has to question how well this will circulate. Many protests originally used social networking sites that the potential protestors were already members of. Committing notifications to this exclusive website would mean that people would already have intentions of protesting and events would no longer just be popping up on a website that millions of other users are already on.
The Global Square’s Wiki states, “While Facebook and Twitter have been very helpful for disseminating basic information and aiding mass mobilization, they do not provide us with the tools for extending our participatory model of decision-making beyond the direct reach of the assemblies and up to the global level. Neither do they provide us with project management tools for our working groups” (The Global Square Wiki, 2012). With The Global Square, protestors will theoretically have the tools and privacy available to become stronger and more organized.
Currently The Global Square is asking for help in building the program. All they need is some coders to achieve their mission (Noel, 2012). If this network can achieve the privacy it aims for, this could bring much change to the modern protest, especially in places where current protests are particularly dangerous. I have high hopes but have to wonder if they’ll actually get away with this.