It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
- Henry Ford
It has taken close to a century for what could possibly be to begin to take root, but if protesters behind the movement that has now sprung up in cities around the world including , and have anything to say about it, we may be alive to bear witness to it.
How does a movement mobilize tens of thousands of protesters in the absence of media coverage?
Easy … since the emergence of Twitter and Facebook. It relies on social media.
Social media does not create revolutions. People do. It does, however, enable those people to create ties with the like-minded. It facilitates the exchange of ideas. It means that individuals no longer need traditional media to tell them where to congregate, and at what time. They don’t need it to stir up emotion, share stories and transmit ideas. They don’t need it to show solidarity or to feel empowered.
Fast forward fifty years: we don’t even need a charismatic leader anymore. No individual has stepped forward as THE face of Occupy Wall Street. This movement has no Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Fidel Castro, George Washington or Robespierre. The 99% are all equal in the eyes of social media. Quite fitting, really.
Some of the most popular social media platforms being leveraged by the Occupy Wall Street protestors:
Is traditional media obsolete? Of course not. Now that it’s covering Occupy Wall Street, traditional media will bring the protesters’ messages to an even larger audience. But social media has become an essential part of the communications mix. There’s no ignoring it.
How long before they realize that times have changed and that if they don’t include social media in their communications arsenal, they’re missing out? Head-in-sand is no longer an option.
*ed. note: In the direct sense – media exposure of the Arab spring and other revolutions around the world which inspired Occupy Wall Street organizers notwithstanding.