By: Katelyn Six, Section Editor for Bloc[k] Beat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From the immersive experiences of multiscreen video viewing, websites and blogs, to Android and Apple mobile applications, not staying connected seems like a near impossibility. I believe that Web 2.0 technologies facilitate and empower new movements with heightened ability to organize their protests and activism.
The Occupy Wall Street blog is one example of a movement continuing to be on our minds, despite not being at the forefront of mainstream media coverage any longer. At the start of the Occupy movement in June of 2011, news channels and stations were constantly covering the latest protests. However, as media coverage began to dissipate and the news of this movement started to get old, coverage utilizing technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress began to really explode. The use of these technologies has enabled users to post pictures, make statements, and above all, keep the Occupy movement alive.
Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement that describes itself as being comprised of “people of many colors, genders and political persuasions.” The central commonality among this group is that they are the “99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” by using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve their objectives through nonviolent means.
After sifting through all of the archives on the blog, I stumbled across an especially poignant message that was posted on April 4, 2013, 9:21 a.m. EST. The author of the post was a twenty-five year old female struggling to pay off student loan debt so she can finish college and obtain her degree in mechanical engineering. She currently has no cosigner for her loans, so she is only eligible for enough money to cover her books and tuition.
On the sidebar next to the post, there were options displayed to allow the audience user to “retweet” the post using Twitter, “like” the post using Facebook, “share” the post using GooglePlus, and other Web 2.0 technologies offered as options for redistributing this information. Stories like this one speak to the issues facing the current graduating classes filled with students, most of whom will be bogged down with student loan debt for at least the next ten years. The archives date back as far at June of 2011, and it appears that the blog provides a platform for expression for this movement’s Web publics through the use of the social media technologies.
Several of these technologies are being utilized by the audience on the Occupy Wall Street Protest blog at http://occupywallst.org/, and while the most popular and lucrative Web 2.0 technology being used to spread the word regarding Occupy Wall Street news is Twitter, there are some other forms of social media that impact the dissemination of information about these activism efforts. Other forms include Reddit, Facebook, RSS, Tumblr, Blogger, Stumble Upon, Pinterest, LiveJournal, WordPress, GooglePlus and FriendFeed. When we are able to retweet stories like the aforementioned one, it ushers in change through awareness. Therefore, in our technologically-driven and social media immersive world, it is important that we not ignore the impact Web 2.0 technologies have on our social, political and economic movements.