Last week, a senior Iranian cleric claimed that earthquakes are caused by the promiscuous behaviour of women.
Such a claim produced guffaws and countless Twitter retweets in probably most places outside Iran.
Now Mashable reports on how a Facebook group called Boobquake plans to test the clericâ€™s theory through an event taking place today. Mashable says itâ€™s designed to embarrass the cleric if a significant increase in earthquakes does not occur.
[â€¦] The event has more than 177,000 â€œconfirmedâ€ guests and 57,000 â€œmaybes.â€ Thereâ€™s also a Facebook page [Explicit Images] that has been liked by more than 37,000 users, and a Twitter hashtag called #boobquake thatâ€™s getting several updates per minute. Boobquake has been all over the mainstream media, and merchandise is already rolling out – t-shirts and the like.
What started out as a private joke among friends, according to originator Jen McCreight, has morphed into something that looks like taking on a life of its own.
Setting aside the voyeur aspects of the Facebook page and how some may see this as crass commercialization (you can buy a t-shirt although itâ€™s clearly stated that profits from sales support charities), not to mention exploitation of a negative stereotype, the fact remains that itâ€™s a great example of how anyone with just an idea that others can identify with can mobilize opinion into action via a social networking site.
Precisely the kind of thing Clay Shirky talks about in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.