Facinating events are taking place in my ancestral homeland of Moldova, a small country nestled between Romania and Ukraine. The social networking technology Twitter is being used as an organizing tool for massive demonstrations in the captial Chisinau by youth angry over election results that favored the communist party. Keep in mind Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe with a GDP per capita of about $1,200. This is not exactly a place where one would expect cutting edge-social networking technology to penetrate so deeply. Still, as Evgeny Morozov posts (a must-read) there is a demonstrable “Twitter effect” to Moldova’s demonstrations.
If you asked me about the prospects of a Twitter-driven revolution in a low-tech country like Moldova a week ago, my answer would probably be a qualified “no”. Today, however, I am no longer as certain. If you bothered to check the most popular discussions on Twitter in the last 48 hours, you may have stumbled upon a weird threat of posts marked with a tag “#pman” (it’s currently listed in Twitter’s “Trending Topics” along with “Apple Store”, Eminem, and Easter).
No, “pman” is not short for “pacman”; it stands for “Piata Marii Adunari Nationale”, which is Romanian name for the biggest square in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital…The related posts on Twitter are being posted at a record-breaking rate – I’ve been watching the Twitter stream for the last 20 minutes – and I see almost 200 new Twitter messages marked with “pman” (virtually all of them in Romanian, with only one or two in English).
Global Voices is on the story as well. Here’s some dramatic YouTube footage of the protests.