A familiar face, and Time Magazine’s person of the year: the protester. Be it a corrupt dictatorship or money-hungry corporations, groups from Egypt to Wall Street to Russia all gathered to give a voice to growing concerns over their oppression. One of the biggest questions has been how to harness the strength in numbers after these gatherings - the what happens next scenario. Facebook and Twitter have been good to spread the word, but some people in the Occupy movement want to take it a step further, creating their own social networks. As Wired reports: “They hope the technology they are developing can go well beyond Occupy Wall Street to help establish more distributed social networks, better online business collaboration and perhaps even add to the long-dreamed-of semantic web — an internet made not of messy text, but one unified by underlying meta-data that computers can easily parse.”
According to the article, the protesters are not looking for a Facebook replacement; rather, several Facebook-type replacements that talk to each other. Let’s say your social network is focused on ousting a corrupt dictator. Well, you may not want to read all the postings from another group about how some big corporation is exploiting a tax loophole and mistreating its workers. You might, however, have some interesting thoughts on organizing tactics, which you could share across social networks by associating tags to your topics.
It gets a little confusing, I know, especially when we’re talking about groups that purposely have no leadership.
The big reason for separate social networks: privacy. As it stands, Facebook and Twitter don’t give out user information to police or governments, but protesters worry that those policies can change.