Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street: First They Meetup, Then They Take Over

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 1 2011

On Monday, I heard Scott Heiferman of Meetup.com give a great five-minute rap to a group of foundation and nonprofit types on the relationship between communities and movements, with a focus on the surprising parallels between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which I managed to video on my iPhone. Having watched 100 million people RSVP for ten million different Meetup events, he offered this observation about what happens after people connect: "Once people meet up, they usually follow that with a 'let's do this' statement," and out of that comes all kind of social action. But then he went further. With a stream of live Meetup RSVPs scrolling on the screen behind him at the rate of one per second, he suggested that a whole new way of doing things was being born:

People are turning away from Big Media, Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Industry, and they're turning to each other...This big shift from TV to Facebook, what are the people spending all this time on Facebook doing? They're not looking at their Biggest Loser friend on TV, they're looking at their biggest loser friend in real life. You can write it off as something stupid and silly, and who cares about the Role-Players guild meetup? It's subtle, but it's the signal of something really important starting: It's people turning to each other. They're starting to sell to each other, rent to each other, loan to each other. They're going to insure each other, it's a whole new economy.

Here's the whole thing:

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: System-Gaming

Why techies interested in political reform are facing challenges; the latest data on Democratic voter contacts in 2014; Hungary's anti-Internet tax demonstrations are getting huge; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Gimme Shelter

The link between intimate partner violence and surveillance tech; the operational security set-up that connected Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden; how Senate Dems are counting on tech to hold their majority; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Tribes

Edward Snowden on the Internet's impact on political polarization; trying to discern Hillary Clinton's position on NSA reform; why Microsoft is bullish on civic tech; and much, much more GO

monday >

First POST: Inventions

How voter data-sharing among GOP heavyweights is still lagging; why Facebook's News Feed scares news publishers; Google's ties to the State Department; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

More