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Moldovan Youth Organize Protests With Twitter

NetEffect has some preliminary thoughts on the role of Twitter in the on-going Moldovan youth protests. I think Morozov’s right to see them as a tech protest movement a la the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine (for full background, read Berkman’s study here). Both of these social movements were stoked, organized and facilitated by technology.

Twitter has not only helped rally protesters, though, it has also given us — as during the Mumbai bombings or the war in Gaza — a glimpse of reality on the ground. Visceral, real micro-news before the MSM or anyone else can write up a narrative of what’s happening. If you want to follow the action, start reading this tweet aggregator or search for tweets with the hashtag #pman.

One more point should be raised. Cell phones, Facebook and Twitter are morally neutral. Although they can be positive tools of peaceful protest and democratic engagement, they can’t prevent flashmobs become real mobs which break windows and destroy property, or worse. G-20 activists in London used Twitter to elude police and stage more coordinated (and sometimes violent) anti-globalization protests.

I don’t know if the Black Bloc anarchists who set the Strasbourg hotel on fire used Twitter to organize, but I wouldn’t be in the least surprised. It’s important not to forget this darker side of mass coordination. At least in a traditional social opposition movement, the supposed leader can call off violence. By contrast, a de-centralized twitter mob may not have enough allegiance or restraint to prevent destructive mayhem from breaking out.

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6 Responses to “Moldovan Youth Organize Protests With Twitter”

  1. mohamed Says:

    I think you mean the Mumbai bombings 😉

  2. idteam Says:

    Yes, of course, Mumbai. Corrected! Thanks,

  3. Online TV Says:

    I think that twitter did not played an important role in the protests in Chisinau, Moldova. In my opinion, the only explanation why on twitter were so many posts about Moldova Protests is that the moldovian authorities has closed down all the major, and small websites from which people could get some true information about whats going on in Moldova, and this is why people started to search on twitter.

    The main websites that did contribute in organizing the process was the comments from the news portal unimedia and the messages sent in the mega popular social network (only in ex- USSR countries),, which has more than 30 million users.

    So I think that twitter did not contribute in organizing the protests. It only contribute in informing people (mostly bloggers) about what is going on in Moldova ( since all media websites were closed by authorities). Twitter is not even popular in Moldova. I’ll say that only 1% of moldovas internet users know about twitter. And those are bloggers. If you would made a deeper research about this topic, you would saw that on twitter, posts mostly came from romania( Moldova and romania speak the same language).

    Anyway, I am glad that I saw a post on a harvard blog about the moldovan protests.


  4. Internet & Democracy Blog » #pmanfail? Says:

    […] outcomes, especially in a country as poor as Moldova (though see my post about Twitter and rioting here). It’s initial effect is undeniable, but a larger question must be raised. How sustainable […]

  5. John Taylor Says:

    I found your blog on Google. I’ve bookmarked it and will watch out for your next blog post.

  6. Dan Lazari Says:

    Hey boys you weren’t at the protests when they happend.
    eu sunt din Moldova si am vazut totul cu ochii mei.
    protestele trebuiau sa fie pasnice.the protests had to be peacefully. 🙁