Friends in Revolution

By Tina Rosenberg

Associated Press

Policemen in plain clothes arrested a protester during clashes in Egypt on April 6, 2008.

On Friday, I wrote about Friendfactor, an organizing tool used in the successful battle for gay marriage in New York State. Friendfactor combines social media and real-world friendship to motivate people to get active. Instead of getting an e-mail from a group asking you to support a political goal, you get one from a close friend or family member asking you to “help me get my full rights.” Friendfactor is particularly interesting because it seems to offer a solution to one of the biggest obstacles in using social media for political change: people need close personal connections in order to get them to take action — especially if that action is risky and difficult.
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