Connecting Curious Dots

On the intersection of technology, culture, and everyday life: My semi-updated space to collect and link my thoughts about interesting things I spot.

Virtual Smart Mobs

A busy travel schedule is no longer a valid excuse for budding activists to skip a protest. (Or for that matter for anyone to skip any meeting). 

Roughly 10,000 Chinese avatars gathered to stage a protest on a popular game run by leading portal Netease.  The protestors were upset by a game graphic thought to depict a "rising sun" Japanese flag.  (Sound-bite history: a reminder of the slow reconciliation process over Japan’s invasion of China in the 1930s.)

Increasingly, physical world gatherings have a mirror in the virtual world of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).   This past spring at Berkman’s Beyond Broadcast conference, many "attended" a Second Life version held in parallel. 

Some have noted that virtual advocacy is not new.  In 2002, 160,000  protestors used software tools to simultaneously target and crash the World Economic Forum’s website.  The Yes Men’s parody WTO website is another well-known example of online creative redirection.  However unlike many virtual sit-ins and advocacy of the past, the mob is now visible and banking on the social cue of it being harder to say no to someone’s "face."


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This entry was posted on July 20, 2006 by in Art and Activism, Culture and New Media, Games, Psychogeographies.
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