Saturday, July 01, 2006


The post entitled ‘Enough’ by a certain Mala in Moju may symbolize the beginning of known form of Internet Activism in Sri Lanka. If all goes well, there should be a group of people sipping expensive coffee at approximately 1700 LKT at Barista’s in Colombo 03 with the purpose of doing ‘something’.

While initially I was a strong proponent of defining the ‘something’ in which we were supposed to meet, I have increasingly come to accept the fact that meeting for something is better than no meeting at all, and hopefully there WILL be a meeting.

The various types of things any activist or a group of activists can ‘do’ are limited only by their individual and collective imagination. What is important though is to clearly define what any such group seeks to achieve- in clear, specific, unambiguous terms. Broad, generic desires such as say, ‘peace’ are very hard to not only achieve but to measure success, no matter how sincere that desire may be.

On the subject of ‘what-to-do’, it is justifiable to say that Blogging itself, especially on issues that matter, is a form of activism. In the current context of course, impact of blogs are rather subdued, mainly because of comparatively poor internet penetration in Sri Lanka and because many people, even online, are not aware of this phenomenon. That is not to say that the internet is useless as a form of activist campaigning, it is estimated that there are approximately close to 300,000 Internet users in Sri Lanka (without of course the SL expatriates) , those numbers are only going to up in the coming months and years.

The problem is those users - at least the ‘active’ ones, are currently segmented into various ‘online spheres’. There is of course the SL blogosphere, which most who would come to contact with this post should be familiar with, then there are these various communities, or forums most notably ClubLK which boasts a respectable 24,000 members. Then there are social networking sites such as Hi5 where there seems to be quite literally tens of thousands of Sri Lankans networking, sharing kinky comments and the likes. This structure of social networking, which is very similar to real-world social networks have huge potential to be transformed into viral marketing initiatives especially if the cause is good enough, and is sold properly.

There is already a presence of politics these forums and in Social networking groups more on that later, in another post.

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