Active culture jamming was always a niche activity, but failing active engagement with brand transformations, ignorance was considered the next best policy. Better to skip past commercials with Tivo or stick to NPR than watch or listen to the ads on these broadcast media. Being ignorant of advertising has been considered a moral good; it meant that one was not in sway to the corporate paradigm, etc, etc. The underlying idea is that the activist position is to transform or ignore corporate assets and advertising.
Fast forward to our world in which an increasing amount of advertising runs online. The old logic of culture jamming would say that anticorporate activists should run ad blockers or perhaps something like the (now outdated) Firefox extension, Add-Art, which replaced corporate callouts with curated art.
But the system of advertising has changed in the online world. First, because of the private nature of the browsing experience, there is no way to transform ads for others' political consumption.
Second, Google and Facebook ads are measured on what's called a cost-per-click basis. Advertisers are charged not by how many people see their ads, but by how many people click on them. That means that the old method of passive resistance to corporate power -- ignoring ads -- costs the advertisers nothing. In fact, it makes the delivery of those ads more efficient. Advertisers' dollars get spent on those who find their ads "relevant" and are open to their marketing methods. And because of the private nature of the browsing experience, there's no real way to deface or transform an ad as a political
statement to others. Whatever personal pleasure one might find in
Add-Art, it's not doing anything in the societal realm. (There are anti-corporate memes, sure, but those would not be a direct response to the ads that Bank of America runs when you search for mortgages.)
I foresee that activists might find the best way to disrupt corporate power on the Internet is to be begin interacting with the ads they're being shown and muddying the data that's being collected.
The counterintuitive logic of online advertising is that any time someone clicks on an ad, it costs the advertiser money. So, clicking on any, say, mortgage-related Google ad, would cost the company that placed it more than $1, according to current pricing. Other banking-related keywords are more expensive, too. "Jumbo mortgage" has an average cost-per-click of $2.42 (and you'll find Citi, Union, and Fremont banks advertising on the search). "Mortgage calculator" goes for $5 (presumably because those searches are more serious). One person's clicks, of course, don't mean much. But a million people's clicks would. Tens of millions of clicks would. And this is a kind of online activism that's closer in nature to Anonymous' famed distributed denial-of-service attacks than to protesting in the streets. It's something people could participate in without leaving their computers and it would not be hard to write tools that would help activists coordinate their actions.