June 17, 2008
"Korea's new generation of 'Web 2.0' protesters"
Recent protests in South Korea were marked with participation by tech-saavy younger generation. Spontaneous gatherings and decentralized mobilization were made possible by the use of internet chat rooms, text messages on cell phones, video sharing, and reports by "citizen reporters." Here is an article on this phenomenon:
In June 1987, Seoul's City Hall Plaza reverberated with a chant that signaled the end of military rule in South Korea: "Dokjetado!" or "Down with the dictatorship!" In June this year, the plaza has once again become a rallying point for crowds calling for the removal of an unpopular government: "Out with Lee Myung Bak!"
But the similarity ends there. And in those differences lies the challenge for Lee and anyone else engaged in politics in this very highly wired country, where the Internet has merged with South Koreans' penchant for street demonstrations. "The Internet fits Koreans' quick-paced temperament," said Kim Il Young, a political scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul. "As you have seen recently, when the nation's world-class Internet infrastructure, its nationalism and its hot tempo all come together, you have a major conflagration." More