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Smart Mobs: What They Are and What They Mean

Flash Mob image by Marecky [cc, 2.0]If there's one report that you should read today it's this 50-page Power Point presentation by Lee Rainie from PEW Internet --don't worry, it's much less intimidating than it seems. In it, he goes into a full description of the present and future of digital media, the growing scores of "smart mobs" (Lee borrows this term from Howard Rheingold), and increasing 'horizontal' power of networked, tech-savvy youth ready to change the face of what is bought, bartered, and created online.

I could mention all of the salient stats contained in the report, but I'll just pick a few. According to the report, 37% of young adult Internet users have rated a person, product, or service online, 44% seek information on Wikipedia, and 54% of college students have blogs.

In the past, "smart mobs," as described by Rheingold, helped overthrow the corrupt President of the Phillipines, inspire protests in Chile over Microsoft's agreement with the government, and even arrange masses of people at retailers to negotiate discounts on certain items.

Rainie concludes the report by saying, "Everything is going to change in the coming years." Take a look; you might pick out a few jewels.

Flash Mob image by Marecky [cc, 2.0]

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