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#OccupyTogether Shifts to Meetup.com; #Occupy Groups At 550K on Facebook

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 5 2011

This morning, the #OccupyTogether.org site announced that it had decided to migrate over to Meetup.com, essentially because they couldn't keep up with the inflow of information coming their way, and, as they put it, "Who would have known there was a site out there that was made SPECIFICALLY for this kind of DIY, grassroots activity :)"

Over at Meetup.com/OccupyTogether, you will find 288 Occupy communities listed. I'm not sure how the OccupyTogether folks expect the Meetup pages to populate, though. Right now, there are nearly 500 organic Facebook pages for Occupy X groups with just over 500,000 people signed up (though about 20% of those pages have a dozen or fewer members). We're tracking quite a "long tail" of activity on Facebook, and as I've said before, we shouldn't conflate "likes" with commitments to occupy a place, and undoubtedly some number of these Facebook pages will languish because the locus of activity is elsewhere.

More on why OccupyTogether went with Meetup:

You have to remember, when we started this we were merely two designers who couldn’t get to NYC to support in person. We saw these solidarity actions forming in other areas and though “you know, it would be great to gather this information and make it readily available and easily accessible for everyone!” Little did we know we’d go from listing 4-5 locations in one night to receiving hundreds of emails in a day. We were slowing the flow of information because us volunteers weren’t able to keep up. This was a huge issue for us to solve because if we’re not making this information as accessible as possible then we’re not helping the movement.

This is where the internet gets awesome. Through this process we’ve been in touch with some very incredible and talented people with much more technical knowhow than we will ever have. The beauty of it all is that this just started as an idea by two and has grown into a collaboration by many. We are all in this together, it only takes one (or in our case two) to take the jump and you’ll find others to support and join you along the way.

We were contacted by the good people at meetup.com, who got in touch because they heard we were in need of some technical assistance and advice. They listened to our pressing issues at hand: adequate server space for site performance, SEO & RSS issues, and what seemed to be most daunting of all, our inability to keep up with all of the information we’ve been sent. They talked us through all of these issues, but most helpfully, showed us how we could use meetup.com as a tool to provide real-time event listings and updates. Who would have known there was a site out there that was made SPECIFICALLY for this kind of DIY, grassroots activity :)

All of the volunteers talked it over… we work in the spirit of the movement. No one is leading, everyone has a chance to voice concerns and we all make important decisions together. We all decided the best way to foster the growth of this movement and provide access to information around the world was to use meetup.com as the method of finding, listing, and updating events. The GREAT thing about all of this, is that it’s completely in line with the whole idea of this decentralized movement. Any single person can start an action in their area, and where one stands up there will likely be another to join you! Plus, you don’t have to belong to the site to view the information and meetup.com is very concerned with user privacy. So, if you’re not a Facebook or social media user, no fear! You can still get real time information and updates in your area too!

Long story short, we’re going to integrate meetup tools into www.occupytogether.org. For the most part there won’t be a huge difference. You will look on the map for your location and once you find it you’ll click on a link that will take you to a page with all of the information of solidarity actions being organized in your area!

We hope you all understand and share our sentiment on this decision. We’ve done our best to add all existing locations that were on our website, and we will continue to add the events that were emailed to us through tomorrow. However, now you are all individually empowered to add new and update old information at any time!

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