This week the White House will respond to the petition to deport Justin Bieber with its 255,000 accumulated signatures. Perhaps the Bieber derivative does something more subversive than its call to action: It dilutes the credibility of this form of activism.
I've traded in the Dyke March for Dyke Sitting on the Couch. Have I allowed myself to lose my edge, or did it happen naturally? Have the shifting political tides and subsequent progress in favor of equality quieted activist voices, or has activism itself shifted to a different, digital presence?
What did Ghonim do to foster online engagement that eventually contributed to real, on the streets, offline action? It's simple really. He spoke, users listened and responded, and then he acknowledged their contributions.
In the ever-expanding and fast-paced new media world, issues appear to be more about context and less about content. The posts often appear short sighted, and lack substance but they reach a wide audience nevertheless.
In response to the Mumbai attacks, Facebook and other online social networks are flooded with communities, discussion groups, and individual members convening online to speak out with an amplified voice.