Twitter, Google Maps Used In UK Student Protest

Seems protesters love using Twitter to coordinate their group movements -- but the U.K. students who rioted over the large increases (up to tripling in some cases) of university fees Friday added Google Maps to their efforts.

The maps had icons for police groupings -- foot patrol numbers, mounted police, helicopters, ambulance positions, and closed tube stations were a few of the symbols used. On Twitter the hashtag was fairly obvious #fees - police had to have the same intel.

protest map.JPG

The map icons show some skill using Google Maps and one wonders what smart phone was used to update them in the field.

map guide.JPG

Could Google block such usage? Will there eventually be websites developed with embedded maps and Twitter boxes dedicated to closed channels for organizers and open ones for conversations and invitations to join the fun? Will protesters need to have SEO skills? Or would such sites try and stay below the radar?

"Students have claimed they were making easy use of social media and Google to co-ordinate their actions.

"A few days ago I suggested the protesting students could do with some kind of "anti-kettling app", to outwit the efforts of the police to stop them protesting," said Ben Goldacre on his blog.

"It turns out I was over engineering things in my head. The students on the anti-fees protests in London are now using this simple Google map:" Computer World UK reported.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.