Friday, 28 October 2011

The week in review

Hello, glad you could join us for the Wikiprogress week in review, a handful of headlines that have caught our eyes over the last week. You can find all news articles and blog posts on the progress community in the Wikiprogress Community Portal

On progress and in the Spotlight

Discussion continues about improving traditional assessments of economic progress. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz talked about the new means of measuring progress, well-being and sustainability during a recent visit to the OECD

On 7 Billion
The World at 7 Billion (TIME News Portal 26.10.2011)
World population is set to reach a population of 7 billion on Monday; the world’s youth (ages 10 to 24) makes up 1.8 billion of that. A new focus has been drawn on taking actions now for a sustainable and prosperous future.
See more, and contribute to the Wikiprogress article, on population

On inequality
The HDR finds that India has recorded 21 percent growth in human development indicators of health, education and income, but faltering progress on hunger and malnutrition.
See more, and contribute to the Wikiprogress article, on India

On gender equality
Plan International released ‘Because I am a Girl: So, what about boys?’ the fifth in a series of annual reports on the rights of girls from early childhood to early adulthood. The report shows gender issues are also about boys and men, which is an issue that needs to be better understood to have a greater impact.
See more, and contribute to the Wikigender article, on Plan International

On #Occupy Wall Street
What should Wall Street do? (The Economist 29.10.2011)
An article by the Economist calls on the finance industry in the United States to form a stronger response to the Occupy Wall Street movement that has swept across the country and is spreading across the world.
See more, and contribute to the Wikiprogress article, on progress in the United States

That’s all from us this week- we hope you tune in the same time next week. In the meantime, if anything interesting passes your desk that you would like to see in the next Wikiprogress week in review, please tweet it to us @Wikiprogress or post it on our Facebook page.

Yours in progress,

Philippa Lysaght

Thursday, 27 October 2011

How's Life?

By Romina Boarini

How’s Life? This is the (seemingly) simple question that the OECD put at the centre of its recent work on measuring well-being, launched on October 12 during the conference marking the two years of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi’s report (see also recent Angela’s post). How’s life talks of what people value most in their lives, what they can do, what they are and what they would like to be. Those who associate the OECD with economic forecasts and free market policies may find surprising that the OECD takes the well-being business so seriously, especially in hard economic times. But since the Organisation is seeking to inspire Better Policies for Better Lives, assessing how life is going and how it can be improved is just as fundamental as looking at financial markets and public debt.

As you readers of Wikiprogress all know, the OECD has been long involved in the quest for better measures of well-being and progress. But this is the first time that the OECD puts together many comparable indicators of well-being in OECD and a few emerging countries. How’s Life analyses well-being through eleven dimensions of people’s lives (income, jobs, housing, health, work and life balance, education, social connections, civic engagement, environment, personal security and subjective well-being), presenting a large amount of evidence on these areas. It also looks at the quality of existing well-being measures and proposes a few avenues for taking the statistical and research agenda on well-being forward.

The main findings from How’s Life are:

Well-being is much more than money. This is where we started from but this is also where we arrived at the end of the journey. How’s Life shows that economic measures are not enough to capture the complexity and the beauty of life, but also the struggle that life represents for many. Income is important for well-being, but there are other aspects, for instance social ties, opportunities and freedoms, that count even more.

Understanding well-being has a lot to do with inequalities. We already knew that averages are not enough for assessing economic well-being because income inequality is large in many countries. What we did not know, and How’s Life tells us, is that there are also many inequalities in health, education, civic engagement, social ties and environment. Many of these inequalities are driven by low-income and low-education, suggesting that nurturing children from early years can greatly make their adult life better.

Well-being is both objective and subjective. There are components of well-being that are essentially objective: having a decent housing and being healthy for instance. But there are also very important subjective aspects to take into account: for instance whether people like their jobs, whether they feel insecure in the neighboourhood where they live, etc. How’s Life shows that there are sometimes gaps between objective life circumstances and how people feel about them: for instance there are 10 insecure people per every victim of crime in the population. Gaps do not indicate that some indicators are more reliable than others. They just indicate that these various indicators are capturing different aspects of personal security and that it is important for policy makers to address criminality and concerns of crime at the same time.

How’s Life finds that well-being is not only individualistic, i.e. depending on what people have and do for themselves. It is also very much about spending time with others, helping others, building a community and feeling part of a large social network that can help in case of need. For instance life satisfaction goes up significantly when volunteering or when enjoying strong social ties.

Finally, How’s Life shows that no country excels in all dimensions (and this is also why it is important to look at all facets of people’s lives rather than at one headline number). There are however countries that tend to do very well in many of the dimensions considered, for instance Australia, Canada and the Nordic countries. Why is that? Two factors seem to matter: inequalities and the key role that well-being plays in the overall political strategy of these countries. Indeed, inequalities tend to be lower in the top-performing countries, especially among the Nordics, suggesting that a more equal distribution of opportunities and outcomes is also beneficial for average well-being. Secondly, many of the well-performing countries have adopted a broad well-being framework for designing their policies (see for instance Australia Treasury’s well-being framework and Norway’s sustainable development strategy). Their strategy is paying off.

What’s next? The second edition of How’s Life is planned for May 2013. In the meantime we will update the Better Life Index, the other big pillar of the OECD Better Life Initiative. We are also running various research projects to get better measures and understanding of well-being, together with many other international organisations and researchers worldwide. You can learn more about in our web site.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Real Story on Wellbeing: A Canadian Example

There are times in history when destabilizing world events turn into defining moments for change and innovation. We may be at the forefront of one of those defining moments.

Following the Great Depression and World War II – global events that destabilized entire nations – a consensus emerged. The world needed a good dose of peace and prosperity. Governments set out to pursue those objectives, and to determine ways of measuring progress. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) became the standard way to assess economic prosperity. Since then nations have come to rely on GDP as a primary indicator of how a country is prospering, but as robust a tool as it is, GDP only tells us about the state of the economy. It provides no understanding of the health of a population, the vibrancy of a democracy, the growing inequality within and between countries, or the quality of life for a country’s people.

Today we again find ourselves in uncertain times. The 2008 global recession and the years of economic and social turmoil that have ensued, have brought us to the point where average people are joining demonstrations around the world, occupying banking districts around the world. Their common cry: What about the rest of us? They bring into sharp relief GDP’s limitations as a measure of wellbeing. A new consensus is emerging – we want a fairer world. Again we find ourselves in need of a new way to measure how our country is faring and now we have the way to do it.

A decade ago, some of Canada’s leading thinkers answered the call to create a composite index that could do what GDP was never designed to do. The result is the launch of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW). Drawing from a deep well of data the CIW uses 64 separate headline indicators within eight interconnected domains central to the lives of Canadians: Community Vitality, Democratic Engagement, Education, Environment, Healthy Populations, Leisure and Culture, Living Standards, and Time Use. We can now use these indicators to monitor each domain over time, starting with the base year of 1994.

Since 1994, we now know Canada’s wellbeing has seen an overall improvement of 11 per cent, which pales in comparison to the 31 per cent growth in the country’s GDP over the same time frame. The CIW shows us what GDP cannot, it shows us what the average citizen has understood intuitively: Canadians are not reaping all of the benefits of economic growth. Quality of life has actually gone down in areas such as the environment, leisure and culture, and time use, with only modest gains in health. And even in areas where growth has been strong, research shows that it was the top 20% of Canadians that received the lion’s share of rising income and wealth during the boom years, while the gap down to the bottom 20% grew even larger. That’s the Canadian reality.

Unlike GDP, designed only to measure the output of countries goods and services, the CIW allows us to dig deeper, providing a more complete picture of which aspects of wellbeing improved and which got worse. By providing an accurate snapshot of how the country is faring over time, the CIW gives Canadian governments the tools needed to better understand the impact of their policy and program decisions, and gives citizens, what they need to hold governments accountable – to ensure quality of life grows along with GDP.

We find ourselves in uncertain times. Governments around the world face push back from citizens who say they’re no longer willing to bear the brunt of actions and decisions they perceive to be taken by the elite few. Fortunately we have choices about how we want the future to look. It is hoped that the CIW will help advance the cause to find better ways to measure societal progress that respond to the global call for greater fairness.

By: The Honourable Roy Romanow, Chair of the Advisory Board, and The Honourable Monique Bégin, Deputy Chair, of the Advisory Board for Wikiprogress Correspondents, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

For complete Canadian Index of Wellbeing findings or enjoy our short video and infographic:

October 2011 Editor's Choice

Welcome to the latest selection of progress and well-being related articles from Dafydd Thomas of our Correspondents, the Wellbeing Wales Network.

Autumn in the UK is, amongst other things, the time that the party political faithful gather to look back at their achievements and plan future campaigns. An indication of wellbeing’s impact on the political agenda is clear when both the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats want to look at the role of ‘flourishing’ and ‘wellbeing’ in informing public policies. If political advances are being made, then UNICEF UK’s report on child wellbeing makes for some very sober reading on the scale of what’s needed to move from political progress to actual change.

Three years ago, Britain was at the bottom of a league table of 21 industrialised countries on child wellbeing. UNICEF UK wanted to understand why this was the case and commissioned a scoping study to review the data on poverty, family relationships and health in order to consider which factors appeared to account for the between-country differences in child wellbeing.

What the report was able to conclude in comparing Britain, Sweden and Spain was one universal constant. Irrespective of culture, values or country, a child’s happiness is dependent on having time with family and friends and having plenty to do outdoors. Unfortunately the details of the report of these international comparisons paint a very bleak picture of the state of British family life, what we value as a nation and how it all feels for children growing up in this country.

Different reports in different papers had the following comments:
Income inequalities have a ‘grave’ impact on families and parents;
• British, probably English, children are ‘the most tested children in Europe,’ which adds its own considerable pressures;
• Advertising for material goods aimed at children creates family tensions and unnecessary consumerism;
• Parents are working too hard, are too stressed and have no time for children;
• then salve their guilt buying the latest must have toys or accessories thinking that this makes their children happy.

In the midst of this disheartening situation, Kate Pickett in the Guardian feels there are some ‘grounds for optimism.’ Namely the universal, positive relationship between a child’s happiness, fulfilment and time spent with family and friends. If that’s what’s needed then policies that promote flourishing communities, happy people or child wellbeing could start by focusing on ways to help families find more time to spend together.

Finally an article in the Observer muddies the waters as the cause and effect of food on mood. Indeed, many are quoted as saying that one affects the other and visa versa.

Swedish psychiatrist, Ursula Werneke is quoted as saying “meals give you a chance to stop and take a break from the stress of the day.” Since Ursula and here fellow citizens seem to know a thing or two about their own and children’s wellbeing, that advice sounds worth taking.

Friday, 21 October 2011

The week in review

Hello, glad you could join us for the Wikiprogress week in review, a handful of headlines that have caught our eyes over the last week. You can find all news articles and blog posts on the progress community in the Wikiprogress Community Portal

On Libya post Qaddafi
Messy Politics, Perky Economics (The Economist 08.10.2011)
In an article written only 12 days before the death of Muammar Qaddafi, the Economist looks at the economic growth that is slowly creeping back to Libya's cities.
See more and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on Libya, more specifically the section progress and the Arab Spring

On progress
On October 20 the CIW released a comprehensive composite index designed by an interdisciplinary team of accomplished Canadian and international experts to measure the overall wellbeing of Canada. It shows that Canadians’ quality of life hasn’t improved at anywhere near the pace of economic growth as measured by GDP. 
See more and contribute to the article on the Canadian Index of Wellbeing

On feminism
The manager of Womankind Worldwide writes for the Guardian detailing the groundbreaking gender equality initiatives coming from developing countries; one example given is the work KMG Ethiopia did to help reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation from 97% to 4%.
See a collection of initiatives from around the world in the Wikigender category Initiatives and add your initiative

On the #Occupy movement
As of last weekend, the Occupy movement has camps in 951 cities in 82 countries; this number is still growing. Guardian data journalist Simon Roger’s maps the protests and gives scope to the rapidly expanding movement.
Read more on the Occupy Wall Street movement in Angela’s Prog Blog post

That’s all from us this week- we hope you tune in the same time next week. In the meantime, if anything interesting passes your desk that you would like to see in the next Wikiprogress week in review, please tweet it to us @Wikiprogress or post it on our Facebook page.

Yours in Progress,

Philippa Lysaght 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A survey of well-being initiatives

At the national level, there are a number of initiatives focused on measuring the well-being of citizens. There seems to be more all the time, actually. According to the Wikiprogress media review, the UK and Australia seem to be getting the most press. However, there are other countries which are also looking into this. 

Since the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission’s report was published in 2009, a number of National Statistics Offices have been picking up some of the recommendations and applying them. At the conference last week at the OECD, the UK, France, Germany New Zealand, Korea and Japan all presented their initiatives and also communicated on the challenges they face.

For Korea, quality of life includes quality of individual lives and also the quality of society. This is measured by a combination of objective and subjective measures. The framework puts the individual citizen in the center then the society and then the environment (picture this like an onion). There are 9 domains and 111 indicators. The goal is for an active community that takes care of each other to promote social cohesion. Korea reported that social cohesion is a priority there as well as the environment. They are prioritizing the distribution of social welfare and also resource efficiency.  In terms of challenges, some of the indicators proved to be difficult. The example cited was that divorce rates may have a negative impact on the family but a positive impact on personal freedom.

The UK brought their initiative on self reported well-being to the table. David Halpern reported that there has been rapid progress on this in the UK. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is a supporter of it and said in November 2010 that "economic growth is a means to an end". They are also applying behavioral economics in terms of looking at what it is that citizens do to help themselves. The UK has been looking at more subjective measure of progress like life satisfaction and the policy implications of the results for years. They are also looking at the issue that there are things you may choose to do because you find it worthwhile but it may not necessarily make you happy. An example Halpern sites was, "…children…you may not be happy to try to get your children to do their homework but you find it worthwhile".

For more initiatives, you can go here: or to our map (thanks to the ABS!)

See Wikiprogress' page on UK here:
See Wikiprogress' page on Korea here:


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Looking at well-being indicators in the middle of a crisis…yes we are.

Last week's conference at the OECD brought together the celebrities of the well-being world along with representatives from national statistics offices to discuss well-being. Normally, these two worlds would not collide; however, now that the experts are wrestling with the idea the GDP isn't a good measure of well-being, they are forced to deal with each other at the coffee break. Though, I will say that for a room full of statisticians and economists, it was a rather lively day (they can be loads of fun!). I would also say that with #occupywallstreet movements and the Arab Spring, the time certainly is ripe to debate turning the corner from seeing people as production machines (like GDP does) to understanding people as multifaceted creatures that have priorities for today and for the future (education, health, safety, life satisfaction, jobs). The point of this conference is to look at some of the national initiatives that have come to the fore since the SSF report came out in 2009 which recommended new measures of societal progress reflecting these priorities and also to look at future areas of research. 

There seemed to be question as to whether we need to be even talking about this in a crisis. That maybe we should just rest with what we do well and get even more serious about that. Let's just look at growth or let's look at the more holistic idea of progress. The people in the room at the OECD and the thousands of people on Wikiprogress seem to agree that growth (higher GDP) is not enough.

The OECD Secretary General said that as countries are applying strict austerity measures, "cuts should not happen where citizen well-being will be affected". The OECD very clearly stated that more of the same is not going to help with anything and may make things worse. We are "turning a corner" now, and new ways of working, measuring, policy making are urgent. If we don't (yes, that sounded like a warning), there will be consequences. The OECD urged that national statistics offices around the world take heed of the recommendations in the SSF report.

Joseph Stiglitz spoke early on in the day and talked about his perceptions of the report 2 years on. He communicated his surprise at how the recommendations of the report were taken up. He said that a national measure has to relate to well-being of the citizens. He cited the example that most citizens in the US saw their standard of living decreasing year after year. Today, most Americans are worse off than they were in 1997. The typical American male worker is making less than in the 1970s. Most Americans feel less secure as well. He also mentioned that the terrible job numbers in the US are actually worse in reality. 25 million Americans who would like a full time job can't get one. What does that do to someone's sense of self worth? GDP doesn't capture any of this. Inequality, inequality, inequality…the gap between the rich and poor in many countries …was echoed throughout the day and is something that has to be addressed.

Stiglitz recommended the following four items for continued work in the area.

  •  Inequality is THE issue of the day. "We are the 99%" from the Wall Street protestors is an important agenda. The top 1% holding a country's wealth is a serious problem and should be addressed.
  •  Research on well-being. What is the effect of unemployment on well-being? What is a sense of social connectedness? Does it relate to whether there is a pub in the town? What makes people well-off?
  •  Risk and vulnerability. The vulnerable of our world are exposed to risk. What are the risks and how do we mitigate them?
  •  All of the above has to translate into policy. We need to measure what matters and policy should be about what matters.

He also pointed out that Scotland has produced an impressive report on how Scotland can better measure and ensure the well being of its citizens based on the findings of the SSF report. I dug it out here for you

 The OECD has held up their side of the bargain and produced a report called "How's Life" which was launched at the conference by OECD Chief Statistician Martine Durand.  The focus of this report is on:

  • households and people, not national production (i.e. GDP),
  • outcomes, not inputs not outputs (those measures that affect the well-being of actual people in a country and not just the ranking of a country at 30,000 feet),
  •  assessing inequalities alongside averages (this will help to better understand for example how the 1% in the US got there and how to fix it),
  • objective (i.e. traditional economic measures) and subjective (reported life satisfaction) aspects of well-being.

Inside the report is a guide for governments to use based on the recommendations of the SSF report. OECD Chief Statistician, Martine Durand called it "a beginning". Though, it seems generally agreed that this is a good start. For statisticians, these soft measures are difficult to stomach I think (rumblings around the halls the next day) so we look forward to the work coming out of the OECD on how to gather and even officialise the softer measures.  
Some key findings include:
  •  No country performs best in all dimensions.
  •  Australia and Canada are the best performers in 12 out of 22 dimensions.
  •  Estonia comes out as the worst.
  •  In the area of work/life balance, satisfaction with work-life balance is lower for women and goes  down with number of children.

In a week or so, there will be a Prog Blog post from the lead author of this report who will get more into the nitty gritty of it. For more information in the meantime go to:,3746,en_21571361_44315115_48858599_1_1_1_1,00.html

Also, you can check out your Better Life Index, where you can choose what is most important to you to see if your country is making policy that reflects your preferences. Be sure to share your preferences.

Of course, you can always go to Wikiprogress and participate in the debate on progress via this blog, help to communicate ideas of progress to everyone via data visualisation, write an article, help us to make sure the quality of the articles is good, submit some data, etc. Let me know at if you would like to participate.

You can look forward to more on this conference and other issues concerning citizen well-being in coming Progblog posts.


The week in review

Hello, glad you could join us for the Wikiprogress week in review, a handful of headlines that have caught our eyes over the last week. You can find all news articles and blog posts on the progress community in the Wikiprogress Community Portal

On Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi
Two years after the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission’s recommendations, the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the French Ministry for the Economy, Finance and Industry and the OECD, hosted a follow-up conference to take stock of current initiatives and reflections at national and international levels to measure progress and sustainability.
See highlights from the conference from the Wikiprogress Twitter feed @Wikiprogress and be sure to tweet us your thoughts

On data
The Future of Open Data (Guardian Data Blog 12.11.2011)
In the lead-up to the 2011 Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw, the Guardian take stock of how far the open data movement has come and what to expect from the world’s largest open data event.
See a database of progress indicators Wikiprogress.Stat

On governance
Key findings of the 2011 Ibrahim Index show that a balanced and inclusive approach to governance is the foundation for the development of national well-being. Most African countries have improved in both sustainable economic opportunity and human development; nations that practice a balanced approach to all aspects of governance have achieved the greatest success.
See more and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on governance

On child well-being
Tanzania: Fast drop in child mortality! (Gapminder News 11.10.2011)
The United Nations published estimates for worldwide child mortality rates this week.  Tanzania´s average annual rate of reduction of child mortality over the last 15 years was 4.6 %, surpassing the Millennium Development Goal rate of reduction of 4.3%.
See more and contribute to the Wikichild article on child mortality rates

On gender equality
Discussions hosted by the International Labour Organisation on Wednesday produced a new alliance between the media industry and civil society called ‘National Media Partnership on Supporting Pakistani Women’s Empowerment’. Over 800 journalists in Pakistan will be trained on how to bring issues faced by women to the public in a befitting manner.

In the Spotlight: OECD 'How's Life?' Report Measures Well-Being Across The World (The Huffington Post 12.10.2011)
How’s Life, a report released by the OECD on Wednesday, gives an analysis of household and individual well-being indicators in an attempt to identify the key drivers of well-being.

That’s all from us this week- we hope you tune in the same time next week. In the meantime, if anything interesting passes your desk that you would like to see in the next Wikiprogress week in review, please tweet it to us @Wikiprogress or post it on our Facebook page.

Yours in Progress,

Philippa Lysaght

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Teaser from OECD/France Well-Being Conference

Dear all,

The "SSF" (that is Stiglitz, Sen,  Fitoussi) conference is over now and below is a little visualization of my notes as a teaser for future blog posts on what was a very interesting day.

Have a look here at more recent prog blog post on the conference:


Friday, 7 October 2011

The week in review

Hello, glad you could join us for the Wikiprogress week in review, a handful of headlines that caught our eye this week. You can find all news articles and blog posts on the progress community in the Wikiprogress Community Portal.

On 2011 thinkers and shakers
Nobel Peace Prize – the contenders (The Guardian 06.10.2011)
The list of contenders for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize compiled by the Guardian reflects a year of overwhelming change: from Arab Spring revolutionaries Lina Ben Mhenni, Wael Ghonim and Israa Abdel-Fattah, to Wikileaks leader Julian Assange and leaker Private Bradley Manning, to the head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Sima Samar to a potential second-time prize winner activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
See more and contribute to Wikiprogress articles on peace and on the Arab Spring

On education
As the world celebrated ‘World Teachers Day’ on Wednesday, the United Nations warned 6.1 million more teachers are needed in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal of attaining primary education by 2015. Data published by UNESCO shows 2 million of these are additional posts (sub-Saharan Africa accounting for more than half) and 4.1 million are teachers needed to replace those leaving the profession for a variety of reasons such as retirement, illness or career change.
See more and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on the Millennium Development Goals and the Wikichild article on education

On well-being
Data from the Gallup Well-Being study has shown a clear relationship between ‘good jobs’ and community attachment. According to the data, in countries where the workforce is employed full time, residents are more likely to be satisfied with the community they live in and considerably less likely to say they will leave them next year.
See more and contribute to the Wikiprogress article on Community Assessment Project

On gender equality
On Monday, leading aid agencies Oxfam and Action Aid warned that women’s rights are under threat after 10 years of progress in Afghanistan. Currently half of the nation's school-aged girls have gained access to education and nearly 28 percent of seats in the nation's parliament have gone to women; however co-author of the Oxfam report Louise Hancock has called for action saying now is the "time to take stock of what has happened and what still needs to be done".
See more and contribute to the Wikigender article on Gender Equality in Afghanistan

That’s all from us this week- we hope you tune in the same time next week. In the meantime, if anything interesting passes your desk that you would like to see in the next Wikiprogress week in review, please tweet it to us @Wikiprogress or post it on our Facebook page.

Yours in Progress,

Philippa Lysaght

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.