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View Diary: IMPEACH: Guerrilla Marketing Goes Live (with kinda cool update!) (122 comments)

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  •  Good thinking outside the BOX!!! (none)
    Even though I am fairly hip to modern communications, marketing, blogs, podcasts, etc. I still find myself stymied by the notion that whoever owns the big broadcast/cable media absolutely shapes and controls the debate. I think that this "IMPEACH" campaign is a good example why the above is only largely true but not absolutely true. IMHO there is a reason why this is called guerilla marketing.

    Here's something to think about. Imagine you are one of the elect, the chosen few, to lord it over the rest of us working moes and be among the first in line grab the best of everything for yourself. You look down many floors onto the streets of a major metro area filled with people. After a few minutes you notice that every so often lots of people raise their index finger in the air like they were pointing to heaven, scarcely missing a beat with whatever else they happen to be doing at the time.

    While dispatching an assistant to find out what this means you continue to study the situation with a strange sense of unease. You notice that although the timing is random (sometimes occurring at 30 seconds or 45 seconds) everyone pointing does so at exactly the same time. You suspect that there is a technological component orchestrating this and you feel sure that some member of the elite, the elect, must be in control of it. Probably a radio station with one of those shock jocks coming up with a goofy promotion for the new Superman movie. Yea, probably.  But what if someone or someones outside the control of the corporate new world order is literally calling the shots?

    Judith Nicholson published a paper in a journal called FibreCulture that explains and expands on what our mythical corp exec was viewing in the streets below. I've listed the link below some exerpts. Whether one refers to this phenomena as flash mobbing or political organizing governments have begun to figure out how to reckon with it. Which compels activists to raise the bar once again. IMHO it seems that the tools for resistance and serious grassroots political organizing and mobilization are ubiquitous. Many questions arise like how can the many democratic communication forms be used to facilitate discussion and formation of a broad-based progressive political agenda? Ok, that's only one question. But it is a biggee and I gotta go. Before I do I leave you with a quote from Public Enemy's "He Got Game", Flavor Flav doing the honors. Chuck D sez hi,2! Which reminds me that everything I didn't learn from kindergarten or Star Trek (original), I learned from PE. Ciao.

    "Aiyo, these are some serious times that we're livin in G
    And a new world order is about to begin, y'knowhutI'msayin?
    Now the question is - are you ready, for the real revolution
    which is the evolution of the mind?
    If you seek then you shall find that we all come from the divine
    You dig what I'm sayin?
    Now if you take heed to the words of wisdom
    that are written on the walls of life
    then universally, we will stand and divided we will fall
    because love conquers all, you understand what I'm sayin?
    This is a call to all you sleepin souls
    Wake up and take control of your own cipher
    And be on the lookout for the spirit snipers
    tryin to steal your light, y'knowhutI'msayin?
    Look within-side yourself, for peace
    Give thanks, live life and release
    You dig me? You got me?"

    "The `People Power II' uprising began when Filipinos took to the streets in January 2001 to force the resignation of then-president Joseph Estrada, who appeared on the verge of being exonerated after a long trial on charges of corruption. Filipinos had closely followed print, radio and television coverage of Estrada's trial as they had also done during the first `People Power' uprising in 1986 against then-president Ferdinand Marcos. Then, as in 2001, Filipinos gathered at one of Manila's major highways, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. In 2001, unlike in 1986, mass public protest coordinated through mobile texting was credited with compelling the president to leave office. `In the next four days of the uprising that ended with Estrada's fall, SMS was used to coordinate the protests, keep protestors abreast of events as they unfolded and to mobilise citizens to march...' (Coronel, 2001: 110). It becomes clear why People Power II has been recounted with mythic zeal in histories of mobile communication (Rheingold, 2002; Agar, 2003) when one reads Vincente L. Rafael's vivid account of the uprising in `The Cell Phone and the Crowd: Messianic Politics in the Contemporary Philippines'. He writes:

    [C]ell phone users themselves became broadcasters, receiving and transmitting both news and gossip... Indeed, one could imagine each user becoming his or her own broadcasting station: a node in a wider network of communication that the state could not possibly monitor, much less control. (Rafael, 2003: 403)"

    "People Power II is cited frequently as a significant moment in recent histories of mobile communicating because of the widespread use of mobile phones during the uprising, but it is not the only such moment. In 2002 in South Korea, for example, Roh Moo-hyun's success in the presidential election was attributed to a group of supporters, calling themselves Nosamo, who used the internet and `an extensive mobile phone campaign' to encourage friends to vote for Roh (Kim, 2003). In Deferring Democracy: Promoting Openness in Authoritarian Regimes (2000), Catherin Dalpino recounts how members of the Thai professional classes used mobile phones to coordinate antimilitary demonstrations in 1992 with students. These activists were `dubbed mobile phone mobs' (Dalpino, 2000: 70). It is my assertion that such moments were significant because Filipinos, South Koreans and Thais were relying on mobile mass communication at about the same time as citizens in other countries and activists in the anti-globalization movement were engaging in this new communication practice for political purposes. In short, several political moments occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s that signaled a creeping shift from an era of centralized communication dominated by commercial mass communication to an emergent era of decentralized communication dominated by mobile mass communication. Other moments included the November 2002 protests by Muslim Nigerians against the Miss World Beauty Pageant, the April 2002 rally by Venezuelans to protest the coup to oust President Hugo Chavez and the attacks by a mob of religious extremists who were linked virtually via mobile phone in the U.S.A. on September 11, 2001. In these instances, people used mobile phoning and texting to communicate in the moment or within the span of a few hours to target sites of significance for peaceful or violent mobbing. The role of mobile mass communicating in these instances did not go unnoticed. In the Venezuelan moment, it has been reported that:

    U.S. intelligence had foreseen the possibility of cellphone use by Chavez supporters... [A] U.S. navy warship stationed in waters just offshore had attempted to jam cellphone signals and pagers in Venezuela during the coup (Cizek, 2002)

    In the Philippines, Estrada's successor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo put a tax on mobile texting when she took power (Agar, 2003:109), possibly with the goal of deterring its use because she had witnessed the role the practice played in shaping public opinion and in sparking an uprising in the months preceding her appointment. Other responses to mobile mass communicating by crowds during these years included the jamming of signals from radios and mobile phones around the G8 summit meeting of world leaders in the forests of Kananaskis, Canada, to keep `unwanted groups from coalescing in unexpected places' (van Rijn, 2003). Given these reactions, it was hardly surprising that at the height of flash mobbing's popularity, a commentary in The Wall Street Journal compared flash mobbers to `anti-trade activists,' calling both `purveyors of anarchic idiocies' (Melloan, 2003). In 2004, a year after flash mobbing had waned, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police concluded in an internal report that mobile phone use in conjunction with mobbing had become `a phenomenon to be reckoned with...' (Moore, 2004). The report stated also that in Britain, police were `cracking down on activists who come [to demonstrations] equipped with mobiles--and are apparently empowered to do so under provisions of anti-terrorism laws brought in after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington...' (Moore, 2004)."

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