- 2 Apr 09, 15:08 GMT
It's clear that there has been a huge amount of social media activity around the G20 summit, and the demonstrations in the City and at the Excel centre. But some are suggesting that these new tools - in particular Twitter - have been vital to the organisation of the demos. I'm not so sure.
It does seem as though just about everyone involved in G20 - from the politicians to the journalists, from bloggers to demonstrators - has been snapping, filming recording everything in site and uploading it to the web to share with the world.
I spent Wednesday trying to monitor events via Twitter, Facebook, AudioBoo, and various websites. One good place to go was this site, created by a group of journalism students who set out with mobile phones to record the day's events. Alex Wood, who masterminded the project, even ended up providing this video from his mobile phone to the BBC.
My own Twitter searches came up with some useful insights - though it was as ever hard to pick out the genuine eyewitnesses from all those simply reprocessing what they'd just seen on the television. I particularly liked this message from one frustrated Twitterer trying to get the word out from the Bank of England:
"Mobile coverage v bad prob due to number of anarchists also using iPhones".
Just a minute - anarchists using iPhones? Or Twitter? Does that really compute? One is a mobile phone that you might think was more of a yuppie toy than a revolutionary tool - the other is a social network used principally by an older, more establishment crowd than, say, Facebook. Or maybe those are just my preconceptions?
I asked Alex Wood what his impression had been yesterday. He said there were a surprising number of people around him using both Twitter and iPhones, but he wasn't convinced that they were the main ways that the demonstrators had been organised.
The G20 meltdown website had been the place to go to find out what was happening next, and he said there was also a more old-fashioned method: "They still used the good old megaphone - people were announcing on megaphones that they were putting on an alternative summit in East London."
And he says there was just a small core of people bent on trouble: "The core of the anarchists, who were smashing up RBS, did what they did and got out quickly."
Did they organise that via Twitter? I'd be surprised - it's a very public place to talk about something you don't want the police to hear.
There certainly have been plenty of fresh insights into the G20 events from sources other than the mainstream media. There are AudioBoos - sound clips uploaded to the internet from outside the Bank of England. There are hundreds of photos on Flickr, like this gallery. And there are bloggers from around the world inside the summit trying to get their voices heard.
But as far as rallying anarchists is concerned, maybe a megaphone is still proving more useful than an iPhone.
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