The pre-era of the netcrowd: from Tiananmen 1989 to Manila 2001 – revolutions of the devices
After Tiananmen informer phone blocking 1989, my research interest with the netcrowd arouse again as late as 2002. There were some cases in-between indeed. For example Graham Meikle has covered in Future Active (2002) how Seattle demonstrations were organized extremely fluidily and self-repairingly in 1999. Howard Rheingold introduced in Smart Mobs (2002) the case of Manila – peaceful revolution with sms.
However, these cases were more or less well-organised spectacles by new social movements (NSM) than actual cases of the netcrowds. On the other hand, they *have* many similar features that later emerged in netcrowds cases, like self-repairing autonomous cybernetic systems. Also the Tiananmen faxes has to be put into this branch: NSMs using nu/lotek innovatively and self-organized themselves like distributed networks – or – the net 🙂
Obvisously, there might be many other cases, but these three are the ones I have spotted so far in this level of activity.
So, cases of Tiananmen 1989, Seattle 1999 and Manila 2001 could be treated as the pre-era of the actual netcrowd phenomenon. Also, NSMs have opponents, shared beliefs and other distinctive features like Daniella della Porta and Mario Diani have classically defined. Netcrowd in most cases lacks everything of the definion of NSM. Anyway, I put in that time – just after Millenium – all these case to the same trough: hacktivism in the material world enhanced with physical bodies and flexible devices.
That was before the #myyrmanni case. I suppose that no-one of the over 2 000 participants had ever experienced anything that kind Internet Hunt (invented by Rick Gates) before. But that time Internet Hunt was for real.