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By: John Paul Chulliyil
Will places like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter be the next stage where we can actually get uncensored news about the current events happening throughout the country? In the past year, the world came to understand the power of communication methods like Twitter and YouTube from people in Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Social media played a great part in helping the Arab people have a voice, which led to masses of people creating a revolution in these countries. The world titled this movement the Arab Spring and unsurprisingly that movement has shifted to the West, for a new movement that I call The American Spring.
Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began, the main stream media has done little to show the country what is occurring in New York City’s financial district, the Mecca of financial business in the country. Unlike many demonstrations this one is a nonviolent, constructed protest that has grown organically with the help of other media sources, specifically the internet. A key term from Occupy Wall Street “We Are The 99 Percent”, which is also a website where anyone can share their story of frustration and hardship with big banks. In the past protesting meant picket signs and graffiti, and while that still occurs, the internet is also a portal for that expression for all to hear.
Unlike the mass amount of news and media coverage in the Arab countries that went on for hours on some news stations, I find it odd that the American media took such a long time to cover the recent demonstrations happening across the country, until after a few weeks of its existence. Instead of the traditional methods of media we find a new generation of sources such as Twitter and Facebook and various internet sites providing a channel for new websites to pop up to inform the masses.
The message of Occupy Wall Street has reciprocated to hundreds of grassroots movements throughout the world. Many major cities and small towns have showed interest in the same methods of demonstration, “Occupy____ (place city name here)” has come to be a movement that is becoming structured and stronger. One portal to help spread the movement is spaces like Occupy Together. To date there are occupy groups that have sprouted throughout the world with small groups forming in over 1,253 cities across the globe.
What worries me now is if the corporations had enough of this and pressure the government to censor the internet like countries like China to or in the countries that have been part of the Arab Spring. I wonder what other methods could we find to push for people to be aware of this movement if the media sources we currently using are being controlled? What direction forward would you take this demonstration to help make a difference?