The great harbour fence debate continues to gain momentum in the traditional media and in social media circles.
The power of social media has been tapped to inform, inspire and incite residents of the city to oppose the construction of a one million dollar security fence along 60% of the harbour front.
Awareness propelled by Twitter, Facebook, e-mails and the traditional media has found an empathic chord with some in the public.
It has become a cause celebrity. Media darling Councilor Sheilagh O'Leary who originally voted in favour of erecting the fence knows a good cause when she sees one. Chanting “This is our city. This is our habour front," she has been at the vanguard of fueling opposition to the Harbour Authorities security project.
Local celebrities like Republic of Doyle star Allan Hawco have loaned star power to the opposition which will continue to grow. There will be no rational appeal to the those opposed to the fence. The realistic security protocols of the post 911 world will not dissuade this excellent example of "slacktivism".
I have been monitoring the social and traditional media, following this swell of activism. Is this a case of folks affiliating themselves with causes for the sake of peer approval? Will the awareness generated by star power result in action on the ground? Only time will tell!
One can not help but juxtapose this campaign with another recent attempt at using social activism to change the minds of the man. The “People’s Assembly” attempted to utilize the power of the web to inform, inspire and incite. The result was less than stellar. The group failed to ignite. The call for action fell on deaf ears.
Why is it that a fight to oppose an arguably necessary fence along the water front can generate more empathy and action than a popular movement to inject democracy into a $10 Billion exercise in unbridled government arrogance?