FSCONS 2010 Tornberg Lightning
[Petter Tornberg and Anton Tornberg - Introducting a Communication System for Distributed Swarm Coordination] The development of modern information and communication technology has had fundamental and game changing consequences for collective action within the framework of social movements. Modern wireless communication technology such as cellular phones, computers, Internet, GPS and live streaming webcams enables an supraterritoral and distributed collectivity which has increasingly characterized contemporary protests. This new form of collective action has during the last years received a great deal of focus within contemporary research. It has been shown to be characterized by its decentralized and self-organizing features, forming a global pattern emerging from local interactions. Different scholars have used different names to refer to this social phenomenon, among the most well known are "distributed dissent" (Thacker 2004), "smart mobs" (Rheingold 2002) and "netwars" (Arquila and Ronfeldt 2000, 2001). Technical solutions are the basis for this type of collective movements, but these are often generic solutions, rarely well-adapted for this use. A system has therefore been developed and is here described which allows for fast and distributed information sharing within a large group of people using SMS and Twitter. This system has multiple features adapted for distributed use such as trusted members who can approve, reject or change incoming suggestions, automatic labelling of message using keywords and payed time-limited membership through SMS. Integration with external utilities is also simple to perform. For example, a system is under construction which shows the incoming messages on a map by linking certain keywords in messages to coordinates. The system will be possible to freely download and can be constructed with minimal costs, allowing any organisation to use it. The system is currently undergoing public tests by the free public transport organization Planka.nu in Gothenburg.