Talk about a case story for "Facebook for Activists 101". In response to the Buddhist monk-led protest in Burma, a Facebook group, "Support the Monks' protest in Burma" is using the Internet to organize and promote gatherings and other initiatives. One of these is a Facebook event called Red Shirt for Burma, encouraging people to wear a red t-shirt on the 28th of September as a show of support.
At present, more than 4,000 people have pledged their support for Red Shirt for Burma with an impressive near-35,000 people joining the Facebook group that is helping to promote the event.
The Support the Monks group is a good source for news updates, photos, links to societies such as Voices for Burma and Amnesty International and calls for participation for other support initiatives.
Already other events are being organized in countries like Australia, Hong Kong, Norway and New Zealand. In the UK, demonstrations are being held everyday outside the Burmese Embassy in London from 12-1pm.
This initiative highlights Facebook's strengths as a medium to connect people with similar interests, galvanizing a network of strangers to unite for a single cause. The democratic structure of a Facebook group in itself allows for the sharing of news and media in a way similar to a group blog, with minimum hassle.
Using Facebook to promote a cause is nothing new in the Internet world. Another Facebook group, Students for Barack Obama, has gained considerable media notoriety, receiving coverage from CBS News on their efforts to push their presidential candidate.
Presidential hopefuls and Burmese monks aside, Facebook is becoming a force enough to entice Microsoft into talks for a slice of Facebook's pie. Right now, though, the Burmese can take comfort that though they may be shut out from the world, the world is watching...with the help of the Internet.