The Occupy Wall Street protests are getting increasingly more media exposure, but it’s the social media that’s really fueling their organization. And Twitter is once again in the spotlight as the social network of choice for protesters.
But how did Twitter become such an integral part of the protests? iCrossing did a thorough timeline of the Occupy Wall Street protests on Twitter, and we’ll highlight some of the milestone below.
Although the protests didn’t actually start until late September, the #OccupyWallStreet hashtag – and the idea behind a protest against corporate greed and socio-economic inequalities – was born in July.
On the 4th of July, the Canadian (yes, this movement was sparked by Canadians) anti-corporate magazine Adbusters (@adbusters) tweeted the following:
“Dear Americans, this July 4th dream of insurrection against corporate rule http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/95/revolution-america.html #occupywallstreet”
The link leads to an article written in April, calling for a renewed American Revolution against corporate decadence.
However, as iCrossing notes, that tweet didn’t receive the media attention that some of the later tweets did. Perhaps due to a lack of a call to action or a lack of a definition of what #occupywallstreet really meant – but AdBusters wouldn’t leave these things open to questions for very long.
On July 13th, Adbusters tweeted the #occupywallstreet hashtag once again, this time with an invitation: on September 17th, those concerned with corporate greed should meet and protest on Wall Street. Only 21 people took notice right away, but through retweets and increased attention from the media, the movement and hashtag gained momentum on Twitter.
On September 11th, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and one week before the planned protest, 128 tweets containing #occupywallstreet were sent.
And by September 17th, Twitter had erupted: 18,817 tweets were sent, and over 1000 marchers took to the streets of New York City.
Since then, other hashtags, like #OccupyBoston, have been born, and international protests occurred around the world.
The movement got its first legs through Twitter, and continues to rely on the network for organization and media attention. Perhaps, as some suggest, this will be America’s Tahrir Square moment – and if so, Twitter will have played an important part in both revolutions.