Statewide Education Rallies Go Viral

by Alice Sunshine on March 4, 2010

Plans for today’s rallies and marches to protest deep cuts to public education are gathering momentum in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach and Northridge. Local actions are planned on or near campuses and schools all over the state. And for the first time, social media is playing a starring role. Our rallies have gone viral.

This is no surprise. Over the last few years, the rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social media has changed dramatically the way we communicate.

Last week, the California Faculty Association (CFA) joined the conversation when we launched our first Facebook fan page. CFA is a union of 22,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches who teach in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system.

We believe that a robust presence in social media will help us protect and improve the CSU, which is one of the greatest university systems in the world. Facebook will be one more way for us to advocate for the CSU in the public arena. On the CFA fan page, participants can learn about events and advocacy actions, share news articles and links, and communicate with like-minded activists.

When we launched on February 26, we expected a modest level of support from the portion of our membership who are regular users of social media. But we were quite pleased when just five days later, more than 900 people – “fans” – had joined us. We were doubly pleased when so many of our fans immediately joined our first official Facebook “group” – an online community devoted to organizing students and teachers for the March 4 rallies.

We believe that these social-media communities – and the many other March 4-themed communities that are flourishing on the Internet – will lead to greater participation today, and also contribute to a greater appreciation for the important issues that are at stake.

In the last week, we have demonstrated that when you combine the outrage that the education community is feeling with the social media tools that allow us to communicate and organize in real time, you have a powerful force.

Alice Sunshine is the Communication Director of California Faculty Association. Learn more about what you can do by contacting the California Faculty Association,

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