- The new networks are employed to organize and sustain the political movement. These include mainly messaging with mobile phones and the internet.
- The "six degrees apart" phenomenon allows fast mobilization of large-scale demonstrations, especially in Korea's close-knit culture.
- The use of digital images, graphics and videos is widespread. At the latest candlelight vigils, not only the candles and cups, but placards carried by participants, seem to have been mass produced digitally for each event.
- There is an immediate global aspect to the sharing of videos of the demonstrations that feeds the movement, as each night's vigil becomes a promotion for forthcoming demonstrations. The growing number of videos posted to YouTube in recent days illustrates this global dimension.
- The current flurry of political activity shows a spotlight on the manner in which rumor, half-truths, can be spread via the internet and other modern media. The South Korean press has been full of stories speculating on the origins of some of the rumors and stories circulating on the web and via mobile messaging. Many speculate that the political opposition to Lee Myung Bak's government, or young hackers, and the like are behind the developments.
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- A poll shows that 34 percent of first-year South Korean army cadets called the United States the main enemy of South Korea. While the majority ― or 34 percent ― picked the U.S., 33 percent said they regarded North Korea as the main enemy. Korea Times
- An in-house poll for the governing party in early May found that President Lee's rating has slipped to less than 30 percent, down 10 percentage points from last week. "Beef Deal Pulls Down Lee's Ratings," Korea Times.
- Education authorities yesterday instructed heads of schools nationwide to take steps to stop groundless rumors over the imports. This came in the wake of candlelight vigils in which an estimated 60 percent of the participants were middle-and high-school students.
- Reportedly 660,000 people have signed a petition on the web to impeach President Lee Myung Bak.
- Korean-American organizations in New York, Washington and Los Angeles held press conferences this week in an effort to calm the mad cow scare in Korea.
- All sorts of rumors regarding mad cow disease are spreading by mobile phone text messaging and via the internet.
All of the above are manifestations of South Korean politics in the information age. The significance of the current political developments has less to do with the Korean government's decision to resume importing American beef, per se, than with other larger concerns and President Lee's recent visit to the U.S. Over and above the symbolism of candlelight vigils, there is a decidedly anti-American message to the current student protests, as one can easily see from visiting http://www.michincow.net/ a website put up to help mobilize the protests.