The Arab Spring may well morph into the Winter of America’s discontent; welcome to Smart Mobs. What’s currently confusing to the establishment is the lack of a well-stated agenda for the Occupy Wall Street movement. That’s due to the fact that this is a distributed network and platform for digital conversation – a meshwork. The media is quickly finding out that you can’t put a label of left, anarchist, hippie, idle trouble makers,or anything else on this and make it go away, because the network is capable of embracing everyone with a voice. Due to its leaderless structure the movement will not be hijacked by some group’s particular agenda, as was so typical in the 60’s.
The establishment has no idea what they are fighting because it is amorphous. Still in it’s infancy, it remains to be seen what will come of it all. But a few points are worth making. As a platform and network, Occupy Wall Street will provide a national conversation outside of Wall Street and Washington. The American people will be able to talk among themselves rather than having to petition or respond to those in power within the strictures of their agenda. That is fundamentally new and the “powers” will be baffled for some time to come as to how to respond, as well as how to shut it down. Already there are more than 30 cities around the country organizing local ‘Occupy’s’, each with its own unique structure.
And, if you haven’t noticed, they are Smart….digitally savvy, well-versed in protest dynamics, and passionately committed. Woe be to the reporter who puts a camera in front of any of these folks, as Fox News Network found out this week.This is going to provide a flash-point for all the discontent and dissatisfaction that every poll reveals concerning the systemic disruption of our economic system, political system and just about every other societal structure caught up in the global transition to a New Age. Whether you are Left, Center, Right, Conservative, Moderate or Progressive there will be a place for you to voice your questions, concerns, solutions or just vent your emotions.
Like A Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come. The uniqueness of our digital age is that you can build it in a ‘Flash’ and they will come in a nanosecond. Not to worry, our country was built on this kind of protest, we’ll survive and be better for it.
Look out America, here comes the Americans!
Excellent post, Ted. I agree that most people in establishment as well as the media underestimate the power of digital media in this context. I am convinced that — as David Kirkpatrick had written in Forbes — we will see a ‘Corporate Spring’ follow the ‘Arabian Spring.”
I was at a workshop in Southern France with 30 CIO’s last week where this issue was discussed and where the participants agreed in the end that it is not any longer a question *if* or *when* but just *how* to embrace Social Media in the enterprise.
And so you have 🙂
Good explanation of how digital tools work in a modern communication environment. I would have linked to the article by the Tea Party advocate who wrote an advisory piece to the Occupy Wall Street movement cautioning them on how not to get co-opted by the plutocracy the way they were.
I would also include the following Occupy Wall Street goals in everything I write:
– Prosecute Wall Street criminals.
– Overturn ‘Citizens United’.
– Re-enact Glass-Steagall.
– Pass the “Buffett Rule’.
– Revamp and expand the SEC.