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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Occupation Protesters Going 'Social'

All across the world, protesters areturning to social media to broadcast their message.

All across the world, protesters are hitting "send" on the revolution. The way social media was used in the uprisings in Egypt and Libya has now spread to Occupy Wall Street and Los Angeles.

"I was checking my Twitter feed one day and 'Protests in LA' came up," said Mario Jefferson, one Occupy LA Protester.

"I found out about it on Facebook," added Joe Briones, who is the director of social media for the Occupy LA movement.

This has led many to ask if the Twitter-fueled Arab Spring gave birth to its own American Autumn. Jefferson thinks so. "Freedom isn't specific to just black people, Arab people, white people," Jefferson said. "This is a human struggle."

According to Mother Jones, the Occupy protests have spread to 170 cities, thanks in large part to social media. This spread has taken place without an official leader or a list of demands.

Occupy LA has gained well over 20,000 'likes' on its Facebook page since it began and Occupy Wall Street has over 60,000 Twitter followers. However, all this activity has many asking: what's the message?

"The message is confused," said social media expert Andrew Lih. "If you walk around down there, you'll get a hundred different answers from a hundred different folks."

Despite this, Lih does agree that social media kept the Occupy Movement in conversation. "Social media has been a catalyst for what you've seen with Occupy Wall Street," Lih said. "Even though it was largely ignored by the mainstream media, there was lots of YouTube videos, there was livestreaming. You can be your own broadcaster."

Now that the Occupy Movement is established, many are wondering how long it will stay around. If you ask Mario Jefferson or Joe Briones, they both say that they will be there as long as it takes.

Lih also seems to think the protest has legs. "I think it’s going to stick around," Lih said. "It doesn't seem like it’s going to ebb anytime soon."

However long the movement does last, it will always be just a few clicks away.


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