Oct 022011
 

Occupy Wall Street or #OccupyWallStreet – the demonstrations have turned nasty with NYPD arresting, macing hundreds of people. A summary of social media responses including Citizen Journalism is Process Journalism, Why Governments Fear Social Media and online communities – the Demise of Representational Democracy, Why Traditional Media Ignores or Reviles Social Media, Move over Government, There’s a new Governing Body in Town (Social Network Hosts such as Twitter and Facebook) and The Crowd Feels It’s Power. Thanks to Gary Hayes @garyphayes for his “the Revolution will be Twittervised” inspirational tweet.

In this article, I’m looking at process vs product journalism, representational democracy falling over, the demise of capitalism, authoritarian aspects of traditional media AND online community hosts e.g. Twitter and the newly found power of Crowd Activism. Not bad for a Sunday morning in rainy Sydney!

Citizen Journalism is Process Journalism

Product journalism is traditional or heritage journalism. Every fact is checked, story arc is edited, mostly reported after the event even if only a few seconds, e.g. in a live cross, as one journalist filters what will be said to the community. Bloggers, Twitterers and others are involved in Process Journalism – the story is reported as it happens. Have a look at the tweet stream on the #occupywallstreet from a few minutes ago:

Twitter Occupy Wall Street

From 13 year olds to lawyers being arrested, to comments from the Military (Marine) personnel, to disgust at CNN (traditional media) and Twitter (community hosts) for censorship/non reportage, to citizens interviewing each other, the process reporting is building a story in 140 characters at a time.

With Product Journalism you sit back passive waiting for the story to be unfolded to you by one or two professionals. With Process Journalism, you click links to profiles and websites, checking facts for yourself. This Wall Street march has shifted the way we accept News now and forever more.

Why Governments Fear Social Media – the Demise of Representational Democracy

When David Cameron, UK Prime Minister announced the Government were in talks with Twitter and Blackberry and so on to stop or block social media re organised riots, it wasn’t because the Government truly believes social media is the cause of unrest and should be stopped.

Mr Cameron said talks were to be held with companies such as Twitter, BlackBerry and Facebook, as well as the intelligence services, to discuss actions that could limit their reach, to help prevent further disorder. Social networks were widely used by gangs to co-ordinate the riots across the country.

He wasn’t just ignoring the fact that Twitter was also being used to do cleanup. No sirree, it was the fact the #riotcleanup hashtag was potentially even more devastating than the riots itself to his Parliament. Why? Because communities only self organise when the incumbent organisers are ineffective (read: worthless). If the Police and Local Councils aren’t fixing the situation, then we will: thus spake the People. And once the People figure out they can self organise using online community tools, millions of people, why do we need Councils and Taxes?  From FixMyStreet to CatchALooter, we’ll sort it out ourselves, thanks very much.

NOTE: Representational Democracy arose in the time when a village nominated a runner to run around Ancient Greece to the big towns to cast a vote for the smaller community. Email and online voting does that a bit quicker these days. Do we really need a “representative” to collect our views and then filter them?  Must get back to Plato & The Republic one of these days.

David Cameron wasn’t being disingenuous. He was saving the political process as he knows it. Too little, too late in my book.

And in other news, San Francisco subway shuts down cellphone signals to stop social media organisation of civil protests and Braunschweig, Germany bans flash mobs (using Facebook to organise sudden demonstrations). Cleveland and Washington DC are trying to ban these social media organised demonstrations too. Even in Australia, QC David Galbally called for Facebook to be turned off during times of social unrest e.g. large court cases, in case we, the community, should choose to talk amongst ourselves. God Forbid.

Every time you allow the Government to “manage” or “moderate” your social communication channels, you are at risk of losing your civil liberties. Think airports and your civil liberties lost there, and you’ll know what I mean.

The NYPD, heroes of 9/11 are now under scrutiny. Random Tweets:

#JPMorganChase finances #NYPD brutality to the tune of $4 million.#BrooklynBridge #OccupyWallStreet

JPMORGAN CHASE Donates $4.6MILLION to NYPD. WHO ARE YOU SERVING NYPD WHO ARE YOU PROTECTING? #occupywallstreet #occupyportland

JPMorganChase buys NYPD for $4.6M. Did they have to pay sales tax? #OccupyWallStreet

Why Traditional Media Ignores or Reviles Social Media

From the sublime to the ridiculous ( my tweet below), The media, including CNN’s absence from the riot that started in New York and spread to LA is noted. The big questions:

  • are traditional media throwing a hissy fit because social media is upping the competition?  Yes traditional media and social media are in competition, hence all the “social media is for predators,rioters, time wasters and stalkers” stories.
  • Slow, cumbersome, or just stupid and not monitoring social media for stories (BBC is vindicated)? No longer relevant?
  • Funded by big business, in bed with Government so rendered toothless or worse? Who can we trust ?
  • Trying to calm things down – if so what happened to impartial reporting?

ShortFormBlog has a post analysing how traditional media is covering (or not) the Occupy Wall Street story. Fox ignores the demonstrations while the New York Times reporter Natasha Lennard is arrested. America the Land of the Free*

*unless you demonstrate against big business.

Here’s some tweets:

  • From @SilkCharm (me!) : Dear Mrs Media, CNN did not attend today. Please contact us with a certificate or explanation. Regards, We the People
  • From @CohenD: Call @CNN at 404-827-1500 if you’d like to suggest more coverage of #occupywallstreet (press 1 at prompts to speak to a real person)
  • From @bewoot: @CNN So, I guess all your cameras are broken and your reporters off getting a bite to eat? Do your job. #occupywallstreet #occupyla #p2
  • From @tonyescobar1: Big business runs the media cartels. Proof is in the black out of media coverage on #OccupyWallStreet protests #BrooklynBridge

Social Media starts to too early for Product Journalism. “We are going to riot/meet/demonstrate” statements are missed. “Proper” journalism starts too late in the process for social media and must forever play catchup.

The challenge for traditional media is to keep selling the story that we should tell them our stories so that they can sell them back to the community for a profit. Tough sell.

source balloon occupywallstreet media

I like it when journalists get involved. Observations of a Jailed Journalist is the most compelling reading on OccupyWallStreet list.

On Sept. 24, while working on a story about citizen journalism for my employer, I found myself arrested, along with many other people. My arrest gave me a unique vantage point on the risks and rewards of citizen journalists, those non-professionals who capture stories (usually without pay) using videos and images via portable technology like a cell phone camera. Anyone, even a passerby or a police officer can be a citizen journalist. That’s its power.

From the women shoppers crying as they are arrested while buying magazines to the arrested innocents listening to the activists in jail and deciding to join them, the insider story has never been more compelling.

Livestreaming the revolution. No wonder the NYPD is arresting anyone with a camera. Obvious fact, but some of the best bloggers are journalists – once they forget their education and go with their experience.

Impartiality be damned.

PS ex Blog now Trad Media site Huffington Post put a call out:

Move over Government, There’s a new Governing Body in Town

Representational democracy means taking your voice and handing it over to a small group of people to represent the masses. Very important when communication tools are primitive. Less so with social communication online. But we are so used to this idea of a Higher Power (no, not Him, Government) that we are passive when confronted with Faceless powerbrokers hiding behind our elected reps. I’m not doing the conspiracy theory thing – but go ahead, feel free to fill in the blanks – just stating facts “there is politics in Politics”.

So when we see Twitter blocking the #occupywallstreet hashtag in America, we should start probing if it’s true. Start here I reckon.

Why doesn't Twitter show the #occupywallstreet hashtag?

The right hand side is where Twitter displays trending topics – what people are talking about. As I’m blogging this DURING the demonstrations, I don’t yet have at hand the tweets per second, but hey! it’s a lot. More and faster than I followed during the UK riots, more than #ArabSpring more than #mumbaibombings.

Warning: If you go to Trendsmap.com you get the image below, complete with USA missing the hashtag. But zoom in to see #OccupyWallstreet state by state. So it is showing up on Trendsmap, just not across the Nation.

#occupywallstreet USA not show hashtag

How many tweets on #occupywallstreet hashtag

Total tweets overall 1billion a week or 1650 per second (PC World)

OccupyWallStreet currently 0.57% of all tweets. OccupyWallStreet is approximately 100 tweets per second.
(0.057 * 5 940 000 = 338,600 per hour or 94 tweets a second)

So the question is: is Twitter blocking acknowledgement of tweets under duress or to keep Twitter downwind of any claims of it being a terrorist, subversive tool? Who cares, if they are blocking discussion, they are in for a big shock. Digg started censoring discussions on a legal issue and found themselves at war with millions of members. See The Hole That Digg Dug.  Twitter-as-Governing-Body-of-A-Community may find themselves in the same pile of poo. We have laws against censorship in the “real” world – the community will not accept censorship from any online governing body either. Except of course when we are blind and oblivious to our own social rituals around censorship and taboo….

The Crowd Feels It’s Power

This is just the start. The Ripple effect sees content move from Twitter to YouTube to Facebook to Livestream to Tumblr, to Google Plus. Opposite of Las Vegas – what goes on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter!

Ripple across social networks

And while marketers are hurrying to write posts on “what we can learn from #OccupyWallStreet to activate our customer” posts, just remember, the client may create an anti brand activity against your brand much more easily than you can create a social media marketing campaign.

The challenge to authority is absolute. The Government MUST obey it’s people or it no longer represents them and becomes a dictatorship. The Army, Marines, NYPD MUST decide where they sit in uprisings – with the crowd or against them.

Or you could just buy the protestors pizza:

pizza occupywallstreet riot twitter

(remember, 46 retweets doesn’t mean 46 people saw it, it means 46 networks of 1000 – 100,000 members each got passed the message in 12 minutes)

There is so much more to write but I need to get back to watching videos, reading tweets, distributing blog posts, Facebooking comments and I might give Malcolm Gladwell’s The New Yorker article “Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” another read.

Filed Under #WillNeverHappenHere #NothingToSeeMoveAlongPlease

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Follow @Silkcharm on Twitter. Or you could just dance nekkid around the room for me.
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