Grass Roots Mobilization and Facebook

Virgil picked up on my favorite bullet point in yesterday's post: "Is Web 2.0 a collection of tools or a reflection of a new way of doing business?" Jeff then posted an eloquent response, followed by an equally great comment by Greg Melia, who reminds us that the myth of control has been out there for decades (Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline was first published 18 years ago!). So please read the comments.

Then today I happened across a blog post from Kare Anderson that pointed me to a fascinating story about a massive demonstration in Colombia protesting the violent practices of a rebel group. The protest was organized--in less than a month--on Facebook (story from the Christian Science Monitor, my emphasis):

Hundreds of thousands of Colombians protested Monday against the violence and kidnappings of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Waving national flags and chanting "free them now," protesters demanded the release of more than 700 hostages held by the leftist rebel group, which has been fighting Colombia's government for decades.

The protest, dubbed "A Million Voices Against the FARC," was started last month by three young people on Facebook, the social-networking website. It grew in just a few weeks and, on Monday, became the largest public demonstration against FARC in Colombia's history. Thousands more joined the march in cities such as Madrid; New York; Caracas, Venezuela; Stockholm; and Tokyo.

So here is one impressive data point behind what Jeff was arguing when he said, "At macro scale, Web 2.0 makes globally distributed, self-organized collaboration a reality in ways no traditional association ever has or ever will."

Let's Talk About Workplace Culture


  1. 08.02.2008 at 4:43 pm

    Another great example of what is possible yet very unlikely in an association context.
    Great find and great addition to the conversation.

  2. 08.02.2008 at 6:10 pm

    Personally, I find it really hard to comprehend how people can still think web 2.0 is only about tools. The paradign shift that is happening is absolutely huge, and many cultural arenas are well aware of that – in politics, for example. I do get depressed about how slow the association industry is showing itself to be to realize this, when associations surely were historically the first ever social network!

  3. 12.02.2008 at 1:25 pm

    The comedian and populist hero Grillo has used MeetUp to attract massive crowds for government reform.
    Facebook has also been the center of protest for freeing Fouad – and others
    In the run-up to the Olympics in China I’ll bet we’ll see more use of the web to generate global support for human rights and other abuses.
    As a former WSJ reporter I am excited to see the increasing sophistication of such movements and the diverse participation.

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