It’s not the first time that Web2.0 communication or principles are use for causes other than tagging ones information or sharing it with other. Not just that, all of a sudden those methods are being used as support for real-world activities. Sometimes those are students, which gather through Facebook, updating though Twitter but ending up at the hall of the old fashion information-technology – the library, whether they do it quiet or loud is another question.
And sometimes the Web2.0 principle (you’re not just a consumer, you also produce, you’re a prosumer) are being used for more novel causes, ones that save lives. Just look at the Ushahidi project.
So when we think about it, what happened on Mayday (1st of May) 2010 in Berlin is not that of a surprise. And I’m not referring to the traditional riots; I don’t even refer to the mass organization to block the Nazi-parade through the Prenzlauer-Berg neighborhood. I’m talking a about a new perception of mass-organization, one that only people with Web2.0 so integrated in their daily lives can handle.
You are a part of Web2.0 when you stop thinking about it, you just share a silly home-made video on Youtube, usually no one but your friends (that follow your Facebook link) watches it, but sometimes, just sometimes, you become the big Youtube-hit and make it to the evening news with a long list of Youtube-copycates.
You are a part of Web2.0 when you stop thinking about it, when you stop asking people and start asking Google, not because Google knows better, rather because Google collects his answer from thousands, millions or billions of internet users, and hey! They might just know better than mommy.
From the same reasons you can read/write in Wikipedia, add you pictures to Flickr or bookmarks to del.ici.ous (and don’t forget to tag them!).
But when you let Web2.0 organize your real protest, on the real world… that’s something!
All-over or straight ahead?
I went that morning to the blockades as a bystander, observing and trying to understand. I allowed myself to be updated through the “official” Twitter for the day and was amazed to see how much power the people have. No more single organizers with masses following, no no, we’re Web2.0, the masses are tuning themselves.
One blocking-point has problems? Help is just a twit away.
A meeting point needs more people? Just twit and the next ones sends you a few.
Status update? No need to message the responsible so they will shout it through the microphone – just twit, everybody will hear.
The communication doesn’t need a linear canal anymore, from masses to masses, this is the how the words spreads.
On the other side, there was the police. Although I lack the knowledge, just how the communication between its forces is taking place, I assume it’s the “old fashion way”. Each unit would have a person that is in contact with the superordinate, somewhere up the chain will be a central that gathers the information, a panel (or a person) that make the decisions based on the information from the different sources and those are going back down the chain to the field.
Now let’s compare:
One the one side you have masses communicating with masses, keeping everyone informed of what happens at each and every point, every change is being directly transferred to everyone, every need for action is published and reacted quick and spontaneously.
On the other side you have your “mass” divided into units, each peace on information, each update, each decision and every direction for action has to go through the former describes communication loop.
Just one request
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the police should re-organize and have its own Twitter. But with all the mobbing that our Web2.0 is facing in the media (just look at the headlines concerning Facebook or Twitter), I constantly feel a need to emphasize all the new qualities and abilities it opens for us, beyond clicking “I like”.