If this thing takes off, activism could become just that little bit more powerful.
Most people reading this will have heard of Foursquare – The check-in and business directory app, which provides suggestions on local restaurants, things to see and do and shops to scour through when a user tags their location and “check’s in”. Foursquare have had some trouble recently and learnt that users want to change the way they make their location available, and aren’t as interested in an app combining the functions of local directory and social media platform. The response?
Swarm, the new location based social network app by Foursquare Labs. Foursquare have essentially split their original app in to two separate apps and Swarm is a manifestation of that. A rethought and redesigned location based social network.
So, what’s this got to do with activism?
One way to look at Swarm is that it now provides activist organisations with a fast and simple way to keep track of their members during a protest, or an easier way to organise protests in the first place. It can allow protestors to become aware of the location of each other during activist demonstrations, and help to organise the effort much more efficiently. This app has serious potential, demonstrated through it’s “I’m interested” feature.
Users can post that they are interested in meeting up or catching up (or even that they are interested in opposing a new piece of legislation during their lunch break), and those who have seen the post only need to hit “I’m interested” to signify that they too want to get involved.
Users can see who is interested and who of their friends are planning to attend the gathering, making it powerful for activist organisations who are currently stuck to the sometimes cumbersome Facebook events, which don’t allow for spontaneity.
Swarm allows for spur of the moment, quick, grassroots action based on those who are available and around and could seriously accelerate the rate at which activist demonstrations or protests can be organised.