Thursday, June 17, 2010

Facebook deemed useful for protests

(O, PSN)
You log on to Facebook. There's a new notification awaiting you in a red number on the tool bar above the page. You click on the tab, and find that one of your friends has referred you to a page they think you would like. You click, and join.
This was the process for millions of members who joined Kameron Martinez's Facebook group.
Martinez, who is currently a freshman at the Metropolitan State College of Denver, created a group on Facebook to help generate excitement about hiscause. Martinez was an a quest: to couonter-protest the Westboro Babtist Church (commonly known for their extreme hatred of gays and lesbians) as they traveled through the Denver Metro area, preaching their beliefs.
Martinez created the group one night, and woke up the next morning to 50 members- 50 members soon grew into 300, which soon grew into more that 4,500 passionate protestors, ready to show Westboro how they felt about their ideals.
Martinez and the rest of the protestors, who came together on Facebook, met the church at each of their 15 sites to counter-protest. The church was outnumbered in supporters at every site.
Facebook was an essential tool in the organization and effectiveness of this protest.
"It was a beautiful thing to raise awareness and support. Before the group was started, most of the current members did not even know what WBC was," Martinez said. "I am glad they are now informed and that so many of them became passionate about counter-protesting and took the initiative to really get involved and take information from the group."
Although many feel that society has become too dependent on technology, the advancement of it cannot only make our lives easier, but more effective in make a difference.
Facebook is a networking site, which means that, no matter what the cause, those seeking to raise awareness have the capapbility to reach numerous people who feel the same way- Facebook is a worldwide phenomenon.
"Facebook was extremely affective when it came to these counter-protests," Martinez said. "Most of the people at the counter-protests were there because they or someone they knew was part of the Facebook group I created."
Most importantly, Facebook helps create a place where like-minded people can "gather" to talk about beliefs, raise points of view and, ultimately, make an impact. Because of the freedom Facebook offers to its users, people who want to raise awareness about their cause can describe, update and preach about their group. They can inform people of the opposing viewpoint (Westboro), organize events to take online discussions out on events to take online discussions out and into society (counter-protests) and make an impact in their society.
"I don't like to say that I made a difference over the past three days, I like to say that we made a difference. Colorado really came together and supported diversity, peace and acceptance," Martinez said.
And it all couldn't have happened with Facebook or the technology that we have today.

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