#YoureFFired: A case study in online people power?

#YoureFFired, the “extremely quiet protest” planned by comedian and satirist Morgan C Jones, could prove to be one of the first tests of the power of online mobilisation in Ireland.

But with less than 24 hours to go, it remains to be seem whether it will provide a case study in the power of social media, or its limitations.

Politicians, public relations firms and lobby groups have struggled to harness the power of new media in Ireland since it was used to such devastating effect by the Obama presidential campaign in the USA, but so far the results have been lacklustre.

Morgan C Jones
Morgan C Jones: Instigator of Ireland’s first Twitter-led protest movement?
© faduda.ie

Jones, one sixth of The Emergency comedy troupe, first announced the protest in a tweet to his followers over a week ago.

The 44-year-old comedian said he would simply stand outside Dail Eireann silently marking his frustration, at midday tomorrow, the day of the Donegal Southwest byelection.

Since then, the meme had grown on twitter and other online forums. Shortly after the growing support for the idea was first reported by Newswhip, the #YoureFFired hashtag was added to comments on the unique idea for a peaceful silent protest.

Yesterday, the story was picked up by the Irish Times, and has been reported internationally by MSN. This morning, it features in The Journal’s “Nine at Nine” list.

Meanwhile, online initiatives continue, including a #YoureFFired youtube video, and supporters of the protest are also being urged to add a “twibbon” to their twitter avatars.

There have also been calls for anyone attending the silent protest to bring along “Rally for Sanity” style posters.

With little organisation, and no central committee to co-ordinate various initiatives, the idea may have taken on a life of its own. It some senses, it is a case study in the power of social media to let an idea take on a life of its own as it evolves.

But how many people will actually show up outside Leinster House tomorrow?

In his interview with Newswhip Morgan C Jones said “You can start all the facebook groups you want but I wanted to do something more.”

This is the elephant in the room when people talk about the power of social media. It’s easy to click “Like”, or hit “Retweet”. And for some, that is the extent of their involvement.

So while #YoureFFired has certainly generated enthusiasm online, it remains to be seem whether that energy will translate into numbers on Thursday.

Are you planning to attend #YoureFFired? Have you decided on a slogan to put on a banner. Send us a comment and tell us your plans.