Protests in the time of Friendster and Google bombing

When you say protest action, the typical tibak or activist will tell you about methods in staging rallies, what to bring in gatherings etc. (in my time they told us to bring toothpaste and a hanky and to write the name of a lawyer and his phone number in our wrist). Online protests don’t seem to be part of the arsenal of political activists.

Critics of President Arroyo, for example, limit their actions to organizing assemblies, staging rallies and face-offs with riot police. But in a period when many of the youth spend a lot of time online, political activists would do well to take the campaign into social networks like Friendster or Multiply.

For those with websites, they can even google bomb the president’s page so that it will be the one displayed when you press I’m Feeling Lucky while searching for, let’s say, “liar” or “cheat” or “fake president.” US President Bush’s biography page was google bombed, that’s why it’s the page displayed when you search for “failure” and click on the I’m Feeling Lucky button.

The I’m Feeling Lucky or Sinuswerte Ako result for “liar” is a Japanese website with the word liar in its domain name. Still, the site only has 783 inbound links. If a thousand bloggers link liar to the President’s page, it will be the one displayed for the I’m Feeling Lucky result.

Malacañang, on the other hand, can fight back and ask sites of its supporters to link liar to the webpage of an opposition official or the website of an organization it particularly dislikes.

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4 responses

  1. online protests are actually being used by activists against GMA. We can cite the txtpower as an example. Even friendster/multiply sites are being maximized to reach out more people. those who blog against GMA are also increasing in numbers. so, i think your observation that activists have forgotten the web as a convenient way to step up the campaign against GMA is wrong.

    on the other hand, your suggestion about using google bomb is interesting. maybe we should do that.

  2. Mong,
    I said “don’t seem to be part of the arsenal of political activists.” It should read a major part. I still haven’t received messages on the campaign against GMA and I link to more than a hundred people in my Friendster network. Maybe the messages have yet to come or people aren’t fowarding these messages to their contacts.

    i think your observation that activists have forgotten the web as a convenient way to step up the campaign against GMA is wrong. Maybe. But what I’m driving at is using the social network of the web as a means of protest. They can copy online campaigns, for example, like using blog white bands like the one you see on the upper right portion of this page, which was copied from the Make Poverty History campaign, and use it in conjunction with google bombing. A single website, especially with high traffic, can be an effective tool for political campaign but a swarm of sites will, I think, be more effective.

  3. Hi Max, googlebombing might be an option. The opposition will just have to convince the middle class because they are the ones who are online and have online properties. So far, they haven’t been doing an effective job at it. Or it may just be typical middle class apathy.

  4. Marc,
    They can ask you for advice on organizing the google bombing 🙂 – which reminds me, by the way, to sign up for your mailing list.


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