On my way down to Palo Alto this morning, I opened the New York Times to see the headline article “A Hundred Cellphones Bloom, and Chinese Take to the Streets”. I open the business section, three more headline articles appear there about mobile phones and telecommunications. A sign of the times.
The Chinese article is a very interesting one about the Chinese anti-Japanese protests. As protestors raged into the streets of China, Chinese authorities banned almost all state media coverage. It hardly mattered though. Instead, underground conversations via email, text, and IM online offered the perfect medium for protestors to keep organizing. “The underground noise grew so loud that last Friday the Chinese government moved to silence it by banning the use of text messages or emails to organize protests.”
The messaging underground sparks many ideas in my head about collaborative communication vehicles and real-time broadcast of events and political movements. What if there was a central repository of all those text messages, IM’s, or emails. A new source of live coverage would exist, without even trying to.
As well what if people could view and interact with that channel while on their mobiles or on their desktops. An organizational tool, as well as a broadcast tool. A group communication tool.
The collective repository could also be used as grassroot news aggregation. Perhaps something a kin with “real news” from the eyes of the participants instead of the commentators. Live commenting, emotion, and clips… not after the fact analysis.