Five tools from Occupy Wall Street that journalists should know about
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York and spread to dozens of U.S. cities, is where '60s take-it-to-the-streets activism meets a patchwork of old and new tech tools to get the message out.
Here are five that IJNet thinks should be on journalists' radar.
Vibe. This free iPhone app anonymizes tweets - and deletes them after a time set by the user.
Initially developed to alleviate boredom at boardroom meetings, it has taken off as protesters get their message about what's going on - without alarming wives, parents or bosses.
It broadcasts your message (text, photo or video) in a geographic range you set (from 160 feet to miles away or globally) and for how long you want to share it - from 15 minutes to 30 days. An Android version is in beta. Anony-tweeters can also choose to broadcast the message to all of their followers, but this seems like more of a risky option for the less dextrous of thumb.
Pastebin. Protesters are using Pastebin, a name that will provoke flashbacks for the tech-savvy. (The site bills itself as the "No. 1 paste tool since 2002!")
Designed as a place for programmers to park and possibly share bits of code, The New York Times described Pastebin as "something like the empty space on a phone-booth wall or at a community center, where you can anonymously tack up an announcement...or offer your first try at a manifesto."
Occupy protesters are using it to organize and fund raise - and publish names of the police they say are involved in beatings. One thing you couldn't do back in 2002 - follow Pastebin on Twitter to see what's trending.
Paper and plastic. In addition to the usual flyers, Occupiers raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to print an "Occupied Wall Street Journal." Two editions of the English and Spanish Occupied Journal are out so far in paper and available online - the demonstration that print lives and people are willing to fund it.
Here in San Francisco, a protester also handed out copies of related documentaries like "Wake up Call" ripped from YouTube on CDs, an interesting way to get people interested in learning more - away from the hubbub.
Global Revolution. The revolution is being televised - just not entirely by traditional broadcasters. Almost as soon as occupiers gathered in New York's Zucotti Park, they were uploading multi-camera feeds and archiving the footage to this Livestream channel.
A team of journalists from a number of indie sites work together to provide context and fact-checking, making it a central place to find original footage rather than sift through thousands of results on YouTube. Livestream's Twitter and chat features also make it easier to reach out to participants in real time.