'Occupy' protests spurred by word of mouth, not social media - Metro US

‘Occupy’ protests spurred by word of mouth, not social media

Forget Twitter: the best way to organize a protest in 826 cities around the world is the old-fashioned word of mouth, as trending topics like “#event15october” are not ranked high in social media.

Social networking sites Facebook and Twitter appear to be an outlet for anti-establishment ranting rather than an almighty mass-mobilizing tool. In fact, despite the rallying cry on a milestone website claims ‘we are the 99 per cent,’ figures on social media networks reveal a bleaker reality: the official Twitter account @15october.net yesterday was still listing only 8,000 followers, and so did analogous spin-off account like @takethesquare.

According to Twitter trends’ aggregators websites twopular.com and TwitterCounter.com, #globalchange and #event15october don’t feature in the top 60 global trends of the past week, while the official Facebook page for the 15october reveals that there are more people who didn’t click on the ‘Attendance’ button (338,000) than the actual wanna-be demonstrators (some 50,000).

The reason for the lack of surges in the social media activity is clear, according to social media analyst Andrew Girdwood.

“For these kind of protests like the Occupy Wall Street movement there’s one coordination that needs to be done, but it is ultimately up to people to tell their friends to go,” he commented.

In fact, according to Mr. Girdwood, “people living in areas of the world with advanced traditional media coverage will just need to switch on the television to check if something is happening nearby and eventually head to the demonstration.”

However, there’s one certain thing: whatever the number of angry youngsters, the global hot spots today are those countries hard hit by the financial crisis and subsequent European Union debt woes like Italy – amongst the countries with the largest number of Facebook attendees – and Spain, accounting alone for some 15% of the global visit on the official 15october.net website.

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