Occupy wall street protest social media photoSpontaneous demonstrations have popped up around the world and around this country before- that’s nothing new.  They’ve been happening for over 45 years, including during the Vietnam War era.

But what is different about the movements most recently is Smartphones: 85% of phones sold globally this year have been Smartphones. This translates to internet, email and social media access.

Cumulatively, Smartphones sold over the last several years create an enormous user base of people with access to this inexpensive type of computer. This enables an increasing number of spontaneous demonstrations, because these Smartphones and most importantly, the instant information and communication they provide makes it very easy to organize them.  It’s so easy to get large numbers of people to meet at a specific point, and it’s also very easy to find people of like minds.

For example, there are many forms, let’s call them “online communities of interest.”

There are 2 types of online communities:  online communities of interest and online communities of practice.  Not many use practice, but it can be very big for business.

For example, an online community of practice might be chief financial officers from banking, and all of the chief financial officers of all banks might decide to have an electronic community for that level.

Or, it could be a company.  For example, one of my clients has over 30,000 engineers.  So, maybe it’s a community of practice of engineers within that company, since there are so many. They problem-solve and share best practices.

Communities of interest, on the other hand, the subject or interest might be sailboats.  But not just any sailboat, it might be a 15-foot laser sailboat, or it might be a 50-foot sailboat, or it might be a certain brand of sailboat.  Or it could be a Corvette; but not just any Corvette, it might be 1960 Corvettes.

Now there are literally millions of these communities of interest, where people are laser-light focused on one area.

So, if you’re trying to set up a protest, you can do a quick search for “communities of interest,” find many, many people that are interested in that one thing, and invite them to the protest.  And bingo, there you go, you’ve got yourself a protest.

You can find them easily, using GPS and other means to target them geographically, or have them meet simultaneously in major cities, and make it even global.

The point being that it’s going to be easier and easier to organize protests and have large turnouts, and to build momentum with them.  Now, we are just beginning to see that.

I think we were all interested in seeing what happened in the Middle East, some of the protests, and how quickly those were formed and spread.  And, of course, we all know that was done with the spread of Smartphones.

Soon, all phones will be Smartphones, because it’s becoming less and less expensive to create the components that are needed for a phone to be smart; meaning getting Internet access and email.