and mashing up protest


Whatever your political perspective, few can dispute that there are interesting happenings on the streets at the moment. Lots are talking about the role that social media (particularly Twitter) is having to play in mobilising people in ways that weren’t possible before.

While I agree with that main argument, I think social media could be going further.

People are taking action, taking the pictures and then rushing home to see what the BBC has got to say about it. Or what the Guardian live blog is covering.

That’s not exactly empowerment, and doesn’t get around the weakness of the editorial bottleneck in deciding what gets reported and what doesn’t. Well, at least beyond Twitter.

It’s still the early days of social media, but we currently have the ingredients for some radical democratisation of our information flows. On Twitter, for example, we know what is popular (number of retweets) on any given subject (hashtag) so theoretically we can identify what is important without editors. Is that possible or even desirable? Discuss.

Anyway, it was with this idea in mind that I put together last weekend, which pulls in and sorts video and picture content from Twitter on the three principal hashtags on the UK demos at the moment: #ukuncut #demo2010 #solidarity.

Check out the site here – it was built with jQuery and using Topsy‘s Otter API.

PS Does anyone know who was behind last week’s live Google mapping of the demonstrations? If you do, pls let me know.

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