Occupy Wall Street: The Social Media Explosion [VIDEO]

by Tracy Panko on November 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is a social movement with optimistic dreams. A message fueled with passion catches on and spreads around the world. Sound familiar?

These days, people are doing more online than just sharing favorite family photos on Facebook, talking about their favorite snack recipe (mine is Chex® Apple Pie Snack Mix), or their favorite college football team (Go Badgers!)

Scroll below to see a 3D data visualization of the online spread of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

They are sharing their feelings and desires about the way our world should operate — and we all better be listening.

But sharing things through social media is all about “me,” right? Well, partly. You do have an opinion and that matters. Just ask the 50 million millennials who are expressing themselves online everyday and expecting us to be paying attention. And now, go to Zucotti Park in New York and ask the 10,000 people who are sharing the world stage to express their opinions about unemployment, ratio of worker compensation among CEOs, overall wealth disparity, and unhealthy relationships between Wall Street and K Street.

Although millennials certainly figure heavily in the Wall Street movement, it is not made up entirely of one generation. Said very well by Todd Essig in The Contrasting Psychologies of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and the ‘Tea Party’:

“Everyone is included, everyone gets to have a say. Rather than policy, they have process. The “we” of OWS is worldwide, a globalized networked “we” full of good and bad existing simultaneously and everywhere. OWS inclusion carries with it a sadness that no repair is ever perfect, that even the most exceptional America possible will still and always fall short of our aspirational ideals. But it is paving the path to improvement that is critical, creating our individual yellow brick roads with an overwhelming sense of optimism, in the face of some rather disturbing economic concerns.”

In addition to the thousands of people around the world camping in parks to show their support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, #occupywallstreet (most widely used) and #ows hashtags are being included in social media tweets being sent and viewed around the world. Does it surprise you that of the thousands of web pages on the Internet talking about Occupy Wall Street since October 17 …

  • 51% are on social media sites including Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, etc.
  • 20% are on video sites (thousands of videos being viewed of people attending, reporting on, and sharing their opinions about the movement)
  • 18% are found on blogs
  • < 20% of the data mentions New York (the movement is not secluded to one city or even one country)

But pay attention because millions are hearing the message…..

Can a movement from We the People (sound familiar?) really create change and catch on? See a 3D video visualization from the Spiral16 platform of the OWS message exploding beyond social media and people linking to the authors’ messages and adding their own opinions:

Occupy Wall Street continues to be successful because it isn’t a movement of people, it is the people. Despite our individual political views, it appears that the OWS movement, which is truly without one strong leader, may do what no political party has yet accomplished. Is that because of the social savvy of the population?  Is it because the concerns of the people have grown beyond any one demographic? According to Bill Maher, “These people down there, they’re not the counterculture. They’re the culture.”

Again I think of the millennials who, in the face of the toughest economic times since the Great Depression and despite the difficulty this generation has with finding a job when graduating, are major players in all of this. Add on top of that the optimism, time, energy, and social savvy of this vociferous generation and we all better pay attention. The message isn’t succinct, but it’s certainly spreading like wildfire (fueled with never-ending energy) — and the one thing they are in agreement on is that something is definitely wrong.

So for those readers who still doubt the strength of social media and its ability to support your business objectives, sit back and make a list of the passions your product or service bring out in your customers and employees.

Are you enabling those passions to be spread around to others?  Are you supporting causes that connect those passions to you?

Because if you are, you’ve just strengthened your voice to a worldwide audience who isn’t afraid to speak out about what matters to them.

Tracy Panko is the CEO of Spiral16.

Image Credit: Journalist Independent

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