#OccupyWallStreet: Social Media, Education, and the Occupy Movement

#OccupyWallStreet: Social Media, Education, and the Occupy Movement

Adam Gismondi (Boston College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8614-4.ch079


The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, when viewed within proper historical context, can be considered part of an American tradition of higher education activism. The movement's pioneering use of social media, which was in part inspired by activists within the Arab Spring, allowed OWS to organize and disseminate information with efficiency. Social media also helped to build the connections that were made between OWS activists and those within higher education, while subsequently providing documentation of these same connections in online forums. This chapter's analysis of OWS tactics provides evidence that social media will be integral to the organization and promotion of future activist movements within higher education and beyond.
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Origins Of The Ows Movement

OWS is a movement that was borne out of not only a meeting of time, place, and political circumstance, but also out of the opportunities that came with a changing media landscape. The proliferation of social media use played an integral role in bringing citizens together quickly and, for an organization with many messages and messengers, under a unified banner. Occupy Wall Street’s roots can be traced back to February of 2011, when Adbusters magazine ran an editorial piece on their website by Kono Matsu entitled “A Million Man March on Wall Street.” Matsu’s writing is a simple but prescient article, in which the author claims that past revolutionary movements were not actually random, spontaneous, and leaderless, but instead they were carefully thought out and organized. Matsu (2011) states that in the beginnings of the Arab Spring in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, a small group of “Internet savvy organizers” were met with 90,000 supporters after putting out a call for a day of protest.

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