Internet users in Turkey have found an interesting visualization to highlight their numbers, connect with one another, air their grievances and hopefully reach their goals using Google Maps and shared documents.
A reader wrote to us tonight saying that his fellow citizens have been “struggling with cencorship for several years just like their Chinese counterparts. Prominent websites are banned in Turkey, such as youtube, lasf.fm and google pages mostly because of political reasons.” In protest, many of people are virtually lining the streets using a shared interface, creating what is becoming a fascinating, non-violent and hopefully effective visualization.
The “virtual protest walk,” our source said, is being staged to protest Web censorship. “Thousands of Turkish users gathered on virtual Taksim Square of Istanbul to protest censorship. When prostestors achieve the target number, they will walk to Ankara, pixel by pixel, to the parliament house.”
The virtual protest uses Google Docs’ “anyone can edit” function. Each protester is able to edit the document and put her or himself on the map. Our source tells us that since the map can be edited by anyone, “it also becomes a social game, with people moving and editing others’ position.”
See the protest in action here. Users around the world are invited to join in and express their support for Turkish Web users and their disapproval of Internet censorship. The goal for the number of protesters is apparently 1 billion; we certainly hope that this goal can be reached and that – more importantly – this seemingly simple stunt will send a strong message to governments that restrict their citizens’ Web access.