This library is wired. We’re scanning bar codes to intake our books, we’re on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, LibraryThing and more. We’re blogging, we’re using our smart phones and laptops and WiFi hotspots. This movement is wired. We’re using YouTube, livestreams, global voice chat, IRC, projected General Assembly notes, vibe and more. The police are also wired. Here’s an amazing example of police communicating with the occupation in Boston through Twitter.
In another example, the Portland Police Department put a call out for the Occupy Portland movement to post photos of their officers on their Facebook page. And after the march, the page was full of thank you notes about how respectful the officers were. Compare that to the reports of those arrested at Liberty Plaza for photographing police and drawing a line with chalk to help occupiers and protesters know where to keep the sidewalk clear. However, all of this communication and sharing is going on in primarily private, corporate spaces.
And at the same time all of this online information constitutes the history in progress of this movement against corporatization. This is one of the reasons that open source information is so important. If a company like Twitter or Facebook elected to remove this content, there’s nothing we could do about it – and a part of history, a conversation and a record of the movement would be lost. Alternatively, social media like Diaspora and identi.ca are open and users control their own content. But at the moment, the battles to lay claim to territory in the media space are taking place in the commercial regions of cyberspace, where there are more witnesses, where the reporters are likely to pay attention, where the public is engaged.
As a friend of mine posted to Facebook: “The irony of #OccupyWallStreet so far: The privatization of public space allows for the public protest of privatization.”