Thursday, 6 October 2011

#occupytogether versus mainstream media

As we here at Wikiprogress are down with citizen participation, you will notice that many of our blog posts have to do with giving a voice to the everyones out there. We like what theories of equality put into action can do. We have seen time and time again the positive outcomes of people gathering together to make a change. Ok, we have also seen the negative, but that isn't what this post is about.

However, with the Arab Spring (among other movements) what is new here is the utilisation of new technologies. One of the criticisms of giving the likes of Twitter any credit as an enabler of the Arab Spring is that many of the tweets were from supportive people outside of Tunisia, Egypt and others, so not really representing the population who were in the live protests.

So, now we have another one that is gaining steam #occupytogether. As I am currently writing this blog from France, most of the people who are in support of #occupytogether are in the United States and protesting for change there.

A criticism is that the major media news outlets are not reporting it. That there isn't a clear message to report. On CNN (in France anyway) it is really about Amanda Knox and Michael Jackson. I haven't seen any reporting about the different cities that are currently organising meetups. I have, though, seen on the New York Times site that 700 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. So, we have been trying to pull together some of the literature on this from the tweet, blog and Facebook sphere to try to get a view of what is happening.

A lot more interesting there. No, facts are not checked (gasp!) as there are not enough resources to do so. says that they only have a few volunteers so they are asking that you log in and add your meetup yourself. 498 meet ups are so far recorded.

What is interesting to me on this is that the social media sphere is feeling a bit more like a high tech country road to an objective as well as the objective iteself. If the objective is "to protest" against the top 1% of the US population, then social media is providing you with a popcorn trail rather than directions. So, I could grab my knapsack and:

1) enter at and find the closest place where I can join in person

2) take a left at's Athens Georgia page to find more information about that particular event

3) stop at the light and tweet using in 140 characters #occupywallstreet

4) go straight through the light, get out and join my compatriots live

5) open my iPhone (Thanks Steve! We miss you already.) and video the entire live meetup

6) upload my video to YouTube or stream via Ustream

7) blog it out when I get home.

Of course, if everyone involved is plus or minus following this path, it is very difficult to find the message in this movement.

In that case it looks to me like the medium is the movement and the message. Perhaps there isn't any need for a clear message as this movement means a little something different to everyone - be it healthcare, jobs, the banking industry, education - to name a few found on list. If that is the case, trying to boil it down, modify, publicise, politicise, streamline this objective into a framework for a sound bite towards a roadmap that might lead to a roundtable just isn't possible and maybe not even needed. Let's see.


No comments:

Post a Comment