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#OWS: Online, The Movement is Starting to Level Off

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 24 2011


Overall interest in the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to be cresting at the moment, with affiliation through the nearly 500 Facebook pages that we've been tracking starting to top out and organic interest in the topic also showing signs of calming down on Google search. Overall interest in the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to be cresting at the moment, with affiliation through the nearly 500 Facebook pages that we've been tracking starting to top out and organic interest in the topic also showing signs of calming down on Google search. At the same time, the movement--which deliberately has avoided appointing leaders and spokespeople--continues to expand its networked base. Nearly 250 of those Facebook groups have at least 1,000 members. Another 70 "Occupy X" Twitter accounts also have at least 1000 followers. And in a fascinating development noticed by Shane Castlen, who is tracking all of these metrics on his CollectiveDisorder.com website, while the main Reddit community for OWS now has more than 10,000 members, a number of local Occupy groups are slowly building their own "subreddits" focused on the news and debates occurring around their own encampments. Boston, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, DC, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle, Richmond, Omana, Columbus, South Dakota and Boise are all active there.

But the meta-trend of rapid attachment to Occupy sites on Facebook has definitely leveled off in the last several days. As the chart below shows, "likes" are slowing down to a rate of about 2% per day.

Searches for "Occupy Wall Street" on Google are also settling down, though as the chart below shows, interest in the movement is currently still at a much higher level than the Tea Party, which it is being compared to.

Right now, it appears as if OWS is going through a consolidation phase. In New York City, where the movement started, occupiers are debating a proposal to create a "spokescouncil" that would enable a hybrid form of direct democracy, with some individuals empowered to speak for their working groups. If they pass it, the Zuccotti Park occupation might be able to scale its efforts a little more efficiently. (The details are here, on the NYCGA's revamped website, which is a beehive of internal conversation.) OccupyTogether, one of several de facto hubs of information, is trying to cobble together a system for different local groups to coordinate communication with each other. And all kinds of people are pitching in ideas, efforts and resources, in a fashion that one active participant described to me as "chaordic."

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Moneyballed

The Gates Foundation's new "global citizens" email database, and why it's a terrible idea; why young people like the NSA more than older people; using open data about NYC taxi drivers to ID Muslims; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Monkeying

Net neutrality proponents call foul on the GOP's plans; StandUnited.com seeks to be the right's Change.org; tons of civic tech news from mySociety, Chicago and Civic Hall in NYC; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Punch List

Obama's State of the Union and the Internet; how HealthCare.gov shares personal data with third-parties; Facebook says it will give users tools to tag false or hoax content in their News Feeds; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Goggles

More on the shifting net neutrality debate; how Ready for Hillary plans to share its digital assets; the family roots of Civic Hall; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Urgency

How Republicans are starting to embrace net neutrality; more predictions of the blockchain's impact on society; new "innovative communities" legislation in Massachusetts seeks to boost civic tech there; and much, much more. GO

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