The above map shows mobile tweeting near the site of the Occupy Wall Street Movement after the police 'broke up the movement' under a general assembly meeting. The massive concentration of tweets overshadow anything else going on in New York, showing that rather than breaking the movement up the raid has raised focus on it. This was created with out clima.me mapping tool for twitter
One element we have observed in web enabled protests is the ability of the Internet to refocus movements after attempts at traditional crack downs. Police forces seem to have not fully grasped that their ability to break a movement has been undermined by mobile phones and the Internet. Clearly this has happened in New York. The level of mass tweeting around the site of the Occupy Wall Street movement is like nothing we have seen during the entire movement. In a world where almost everyone can be a citizen journalist linked to the world a raid like this can be exploited by a movement to gain sympathy and support.
Every Web 3.0 metric we are seeing tells up that rather than breaking the Occupy Wall Street movement the police raids have vastly increased this appeal and profile:
- More active on twitter hashtags,
- More positive statements of support vs negative (particularly more people supporting their right to protest),
- More tweeting from around the location event,
- More check in to venue services like foursquare related to the event.
Occupy Wall Street has trended as a foursquare venue every night for the past weeks, but after the raid it reached 50 check ins, several times higher than any other venue in New York this evening. This means that at least 50+ foursquare users are near the area and have decided to check in, over the night probably a few hundred. Though not a fully scientific survey of participation such high levels of Fourquare participation are often very indicative of high levels of public interest, and combined with the map of tweets near the site it is clear a lot of people are there now, they are online with mobile devices, and they are supportive of Occupy movement. Combine this with the chatter on social networks like the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that the movement has been strengthened in the eyes of people of New York and general public.
Old powers, like Egypt and Wall Street, simply have failed to learn that this is a new world, one where simple methods of mass bullying of the population simply no longer work as well. In the case of New York it is unimaginable that the city will be able to carry its repression to the point of Syria or Bahrain, so the conclusion that the city will have to retreat on this seem inevitable.