Last night, just as I was off to bed, WikiLeaks started counting down to a new release on twitter.
I ended up hiding under the duvet with my IPhone – hoping the light wouldn’t wake up the hubby – reading other people’s emails.
The fact I’d just watched Homeland didn’t help. After two hours scouring WikiLeaks’ Global Intelligence files looking for nuggets of international conspiracy I was pretty knackered. And I have to be honest it quickly descended into little more than a trawl for international tittle-tattle and gossip.
However, this is proving an interesting example of the power of participatory journalism and social media.
The crowd sourcing bug has hit. The audience is also the producer. Thousands of people around the world are accessing emails and tweeting the best lines. Like thousands of others around the globe I was caught up in the momentum of a WikiLeaks moment.
It’s something you can do too. Look through the emails, find info and tweet #gifiles. International political news disseminated by you, direct from your sofa.
It is difficult to focus on a corporation in the same way as a government. Even if they are clucking moral outrage while peddling private information to customers ranging from British military officials to Coca-Cola.
And the ‘hero of democracy’ is faceless too. This leak has come from the hacktavist collaborative Anonymous. There’s no Bradley Manning to romanticise with Nobel Peace Prize nominations and messages of support.
There’s also no mainstream media partnership in the UK. The Guardian used data visualisation to make the 2010 leak more accessible. But following a public spat with Julian Assange they are not one of today’s partnership organisations, which range from Italian red-top L’espresso to Rolling Stone (whose online coverage of the whole affair was notably sparce today.)
There’s also no US heavy-hitter like The New York Times who partnered with WikiLeaks in the past. One would hope these absences are not the result of a sobered Anglo-US press.
But that’s not to say there won’t be a fall out. There’s certainly some juicy stuff. From an email which alludes to ‘Clinton and ‘Funny ChimCom money‘ to descriptions of Sarkosy (nicknamed Sarko) being ‘leaned on’ by Russian diplomats to stop ‘cheerleading sanctions’. There’s no country named in the sanction email, but September 09 date would suggest it was against Iran. Of course both of these suggestions are completely unsubstantiated.
However, hard evidence or not I cannot help but keep looking. This will become my bedtime reading as I try to monitor how it permeates mainstream media over the coming days.