Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Web 3.0 analysis predicts possible rise in Madison protests

We have been tracking two cities to see if protests in Madison might expand in to a large event and even a major strike.

Madison Wisconsin is slightly about 30% smaller than St Louis. Both are in the same time zone and for the past several days both have had roughly the same tweeting levels.


We had anticipated that as long as the two cities stayed relatively close to each other the situation in Madison would likely not accelerate.

Over the past hour, most likely on the news that a pro-Union web site http://www.defendwisconsin.org was being banned from the Capital we have seen a major spike in Madison over St Louis ratio. Last check Madison was at 76 to St Louis 46.

This may be due solely to chatter over the story that the pro-union web site was banned, and people protesting in the Capital turning to Twitter to spread information. But over the past few weeks we have observed that there is a kind of "twitter effect" when people turn to social networks instead of more traditional new sources. Communications on social networks promote the formation of social communities. Facebook's entire business model is the creation of online communities. So the process of moving to social networks for information exchange also reinforces social bonds in a community and facilitate the strength of protest movements.

If the numbers of tweets coming from Madison remains elevated over the next few days we believe it is very likely that Wisconsin will soon enter a more dramatic stage in the teachers Union protest.

Also given the events we have seen in the Middle East we see little possibility that the Wisconsin State Government would be able to contain this strike in the face of a more motivated, agile and better informed opposition.

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