#OccupyWallStreet gives anyone who wants a voice at the protests a voice, no matter where they are physically.
As I wandered through the Occupy DC protests on Thursday I must admit that I did not agree with every sentiment I saw scribbled on a placard. However, I did rejoice in the fact that people were in the street making their voices heard.
And they are being heard.
Word of #OccupyWallStreet has gone out around the world, largely via social media, and many people have responded. Where a few weeks ago there were only a handful of protesters in New York, now there are thousands in almost every major city in the US. This would not have happened without social media.
I wrote earlier about the initial lack of coverage of the protests. The main stream media, a couple of weeks ago was paying no attention to the kids in the streets . Now they are falling all over themselves to cover the story. Again this would never have happened without social media.
#OccupyWallStreet, or #OccupyWallSt, or #OWS gives anyone who wants it a front row seat at the protests. One can adjust as needed to follow what is going on in one’s particular city.
For instance #OccupyAtlanta has some interesting tweets associated with it. It was by using this hash tag that I learned that the congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis had not been allowed to speak at the protests in Atlanta. The video can be seen here.
Hashtags also allow opposing viewpoints to weigh in.
Again a good example is #OccupyAtlanta. Just looking at the Twitter feed again there seems to be one contingent of pro-protest people who are shocked by the rejection of Lewis. There is another that is furious. There are some that are supportive of the rejection. Still others, who are anti-protest, are taking delight in the refusal.
The point is there is a pitched battle of ideas being waged online around these hash tags. If you want to see what is really going on in the streets, don’t look to CNN, or Fox, or MSNBC, use Twitter. Hashtags allow for a form of open source policy making. People riff off of one another and the complexion of the protests changes just a bit with each tweet. Sometimes, depending on who is doing the tweeting it can change a lot.
The stock market isn’t the only volatile market of consequence these days. The online “market of ideas” is more dynamic than it has ever been.