Through The Static

April 24, 2008

At Face(book) Value: “GRASS HOLES!!!”

Filed under: Culture,Food,Politics,Randomness,Technology — bobbleheadedbob @ 4:14 am

Ahhh, the wonders of Facebook! Remember, like that rambunctious late academic Foucault always said (and I’m paraphrasing here) power isn’t only top-down (YES, the makers and manufacturers of Facebook, Gmail, and Myspace are ALWAYS watching us!), but it also comes from the bottom-up! Power isn’t a THING or a TOOL, but an ENERGY that can be amassed and directed from anywhere — yes, even from the bazillions of group listings on Facebook.


From Alternet“Despite Negative Press, Facebook Is a Powerful Agent for Social Change” (Nancy Scola):

As an organizing tool, Facebook has had a couple of ugly weeks of late. Students at Michigan State University recently used Facebook to revive Cedar Fest, an old campus tradition that had been outlawed by local officials in the late 1980s after it frequently escalated from a party into something more akin to a riot. This time around, after violence ensued, East Lansing police officials vowed to hold those Facebook users accountable. News headlines ran along the lines of “Facebook: Tool for Chaos?” and the social-networking site was demonized as a means for the rabble to wreak havoc.

But it’s only right to hold up the recent commotion in south-central Michigan against other Facebook-fueled collective action. It should be placed in context with how a Canadian university student named Alex Bookbinder has used the site to push back against state-sponsored violence in Burma. It must be judged against the worldwide attention to China’s policy on Tibet that activists have used Facebook to generate in recent weeks. And it is only properly understood against the backdrop of those Colombian citizens, sick and tired of the fear that racks their country, who used Facebook to say no mas in more than one hundred cities on the very same day.

Facebook is revolutionizing the way collective political and social actions are organized today, blowing the doors off old models of how volunteer lists are amassed, funds raised, and messages honed and delivered. And no one is more surprised by that than Alex Bookbinder.

Bookbinder. (FACE) Bookbinder. ::giggles:: How fitting. <– if you hadn’t already guessed, this bobblehead’s got a weakness for puns and kawinkydinks.

“It’s like a party,” says the first-year student at the University of British Columbia. “If it catches attention, it will go viral” — aided in part by Facebook’s News Feed feature, which functions as something of an EKG for your social network. In the last weekend in September, the group reportedly gained a breathtaking nine new members a second.

Yeahhhh, a party. For GRASS EATERS! What is up with these peoples? Going viral? Is pristine Wonderbread America being INFECTED with grass seed??! And as for these grass eaters, why are they so flipping rambunctious? GRASSHOLES, all of them — GRASSHOLES!!!! <– now, how now Brown cow can I up and join me one of them groups???


One of the beauties of a Facebook group is the “Message All Members” feature, by which group administrators can reach out to entire membership rolls at any time.

::raises hand:: Um… on this point, I must voice some dissent. As much as this poseur would desire GRASSHOLE membership, she is sometimes loath to the many spamming beauties of Facebook. I loves me my regulo blue can o Spam, but being subjected to the VERB of this glistening beauty of pink luncheon meat is something this bobblehead finds quite unsavory.

This past winter, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), a New York-based activist group, saw both a window of opportunity and the need for more funds to ratchet up their work.

Luckily for SFT, the Case Foundation, founded by AOL co-founder Steve Case and his wife Jean, was at the same time eager to explore philanthropy and collective action, in particular “how people could use simple Web 2.0 tools and social networking strategies to put their own passions to work on behalf of their favorite charities and causes.”

Their Facebook Giving Challenge had a twist. Rather than awarding the $250,000 in prize monies to the cause that raised the most funds, the winning efforts would be those that attracted the greatest number of unique donors contributing a minimum of $10.

The focus on racking up small-dollar donors made the Giving Challenge seem like less like fund-raising and more like an online social moment. Students for a Free Tibet set to work encouraging its existing network to email, instant message, Facebook message and call their contacts to chip in a few bucks. Says Kalay[a]’an Mendoza, SFT’s grassroots coordinator, “Since the minimum donation was $10, a lot of students who wouldn’t consider themselves donors were able to donate.” (The average contribution to the Facebook Giving Challenge ended up at just $17.38.)

–newsbreak– KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! Is that my fellow Gaucho Kalaya’an Mendoza I see popping up all ova dey news? Oh Kalaaaaa, how you be so FIERCE? Kalaya’an Mendoza = BobbleHead’s GRASSHOLE o dey Week. –endnewsbreak–

From student street parties in Michigan to protests inspired by Burma, Tibet and Colombia, and conducted all over the world, Facebook is proving itself a potent means of organizing large-scale political and social movements. Of course, that does carry risks. For one thing, a social-network meant to knit together groups of people means exposing ourselves far and wide — including to those in positions of power who might not appreciate Facebook’s usefulness for organizing the masses.

As Students for a Free Tibet’s Kalay[a]’an Mendoza, says, in reference to signs the Chinese government is beginning to take note of the group’s social-networking efforts, “We can expect to have our Facebook pages closely monitored from here on out.”

“But,” he quickly adds, “we’re ready.”

::cups face in hands::


Oh, we ready, too, Kala. We ready, too. ::giggles:: Can anybody tell that the undergrad in me had this MASSIVE CRUSH on this fiercely fierce politically activated GRASSHOLE? My yellow yolk is enduringly enamored with his level of honest sincerity in his dedication to EATING GRASS!! GRASS!!!

:: p l o p — ! !::


Maaaaa~ my inner yolk explodicated… AGAIN!!! ::drip, drip:: I’s gonna need a mop.

::switches to correct grammar::

With the advent of Facebook, which arguably owes its roots to Friendster, there is a bubble of intense productivity, 3 parts excitement, 1 part excrement, and 2 parts sippage of the office haterade.

Perhaps it is a generational thing, speaking to vast majority of those who have chosen to plug out of the option of iPods, Wikipedia, and – yes – MySpace. There is a Big Brother aspect to this new machine of technologically-enabled human connection that can be as promising as it is dangerous.

But then again, Power is always as promising as it is dangerous.

Change is always as promising as it is dangerous.

And instead of searching for the perfect tool through which we can mobilize without alienation, galvanize without exhaustion, or inspire without burnout, perhaps the tools we are looking for are the ones right in front of us.

Like Grace Lee Boggs would say, maybe WE are the leaders we are looking for. And maybe, just maybe, that laptop in front of you, that Blackberry, that freakin ubiquitous iPhone, are the tools we are looking for. So instead of tearing them down for their glitches and bugs, their vulnerabilities to being hacked into for whacked out purposes, perhaps we should study them and fortify their possibilities, for, every tool can be utilized as a weapon.

After all, aren’t the ones who understand their weapons best the ones who are more productively effective in battle?  WEAPONS???  Yes, WeApOnS, people!!!



wiki wika




  1. What’s a grasshole?

    Comment by disciplepete — April 24, 2008 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  2. […] At Face(book) Value: “GRASS HOLES!!!”[image]. 2008. (accessed May 26, 2008). […]

    Pingback by Assignments « Natt2 — May 26, 2008 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  3. […] At Face(book) Value: “GRASS HOLES!!!”[image]. 2008. (accessed May 26, 2008). […]

    Pingback by CYBERSPACE « Natt2 — June 1, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  4. hey thanks for the love 🙂 i am hella curious but can the blogger who wrote this hit me up:

    peace and lumpia grease.


    Comment by Kalaya'an Mendoza — June 11, 2008 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  5. I loved this page. I really love the graphic of grass in the center with the white back ground. May I use it on my site?

    Please let me know.


    Comment by D — March 23, 2009 @ 9:42 am | Reply

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