From The Asia Times Online:
Party time at South Korea’s protest 2.0
By Sunny Lee
SEOUL – This is strange. Even as anti-government demonstrations in South Korea go, this is an odd, odd scene. Even a foreigner thinks so. “I have never seen anything like this before,” said Jeff Lazar, an American activist observing the ongoing protests here over the import of beef from the United States. “It’s like a festival. They are even using a laser projector to write their protest words in the air. It’s effective because it’s fun. It’s also a sure attention-grabber,” he adds.
This was them most telling paragraph for me:
Besides the lack of violence, what is surprising – even to South Koreans – is that there is no organizer for the already weeks-long demonstration. People took to the streets and formed ad hoc protest groups, usually around 6pm or 7pm each day. This has been bewildering to South Korean civil society, labor unions and opposition politicians – the usual players in such public protests. Tuesday’s rally was the first officially organized protest and had the biggest turnout – police estimate 105,000 demonstrators, while the organizers said the number was closer to 500,000.
Ah yes, online meets offline:
This is South Korea’s street protests 2.0. Or, perhaps, South Korea’s “postmodern” demonstrations. With some Koreans mistrustful of mainstream media reports on the demonstration, they’ve taken matters into their own hands by broadcasting and reporting themselves. Using high-speed wireless Internet, some “embedded” citizens are using their own laptops and camcorders to broadcast real-time events. There are “citizen reporters” conducting interviews and taking pictures and posting them on their personal blogs and Internet forums. In fact, these news hounds have been so effective that some established newspapers have begun quoting them.
My italics and bold goodness. Don’t forget, these bloggers have identity and reputation and therefore trust. They are not new voices but have become established. One or more will be well written, with a substantial audience and a fair amount of political sway. Editors will take notice of them (they bring ready made audience as well as articles) and they will be able to get to the key players through their network (much the same way when Michael Arrington used his online community to get to Barack Obama for an interview errr blog post). I’d take known politics and clever writing over boring, bland, unengaged, objective wafflings anyday.
From a Korean blog (Cina?):
Today the S.K. semi-official news agency Yonhap had to “detect” that the “strike is starting to hurt S. Korean industry, trade..” (Surprise, surprise! But that’s usually the ultimative goal of any struggle/strike against the exploiting class and/or their state/gov’t!!!)
“It’s like a festival. They are even using a laser projector to write their protest words in the air…
..It’s effective because it’s fun. It’s also a sure attention-grabber,” he adds.
The recent emergence of technology-enabled collective action in Korea has been spotted by the blogosphere: Tecnhnokimchi reports on the emergence of citizen journalism, Futurize Korea reports on technology-enabled protests, and OhMyNews writes about how its readers spontaneously provide a ‘long tail’ of funding in exchange for citizen media.
You can’t talk about the Digital Economy without talking about the Social Network economy, can you?