Home > law & justice, media > Power to the People

Power to the People

Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 17:11 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

In my Christmas frenzy, I managed to miss this story, a spectacular example of citizens neutralizing an attempted abuse of power:

As a blizzard dumped more than a foot of snow on Washington, D.C. last month, a group of youngish, well-wired hipsters gathered in the city’s gentrifying U-Street corridor for a mass snowball fight. The idea originated and gained momentum on the social networking site Twitter. That’s significant, because by the time it was all over, the Snowball Fight Heard ‘Round the World became an apt demonstration of how social networking, easy access to publishing software, and the all-around democratization of technology is blowing open the filtered, narrowly-bored traditional channels of information, helping make both government and traditional media more accountable.

Read the whole thing for more background about what transpired, the foolish actions of the D.C. police department, and the irresponsible reporting by lazy and gullible journalists. The money quote:

Instead of turning his nose up at new media and social networking, Fisher should be asking himself whether, if it weren’t for Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and alternative weeklies like the City Paper, the Post would have ever gotten this story right.

A final thought: It may not rank up there with “Make love, not war” and “Hell no, we won’t go” as inspiring protest rhetoric, but I love the crowd’s chant of “Don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight.”

(Edited to correct a formatting error.)

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