Occupy Wall Street: the strength of technology (Phase #1)

// Posted by on 04/21/2014 (8:19 AM)

For my final research project I decided I wanted to focus on the movement, Occupy Wall Street and the global recognition it has acquired. I quickly developed interest in this topic because of how unfamiliar I was with it. When first thinking about how I should drive into my research, I decided it would be helpful to figure out how Occupy even began. I originally believed it was initially organized in America, however I was hugely mistaken. The movement sprouted in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, where twenty-six year old man set himself on fire due to years of police harassment. This act ignited more protests around Tunisia, which eventually led to the overthrow of the long autocratic rule. After citizens in other countries learned of the success that the Tunisian people had, they themselves began planning riots to fight for their beliefs. Many of these protests were very successful, creating a spark within the global society. Finally on September 17th, 2011 Occupy Wall Street was born and hit the sidewalks of New York City, specifically Wall Street.


Developing my course of action has been a difficult process for me. Initially I believed my argument was going to be an easy one, proving that without technology and the effect social media has on our world today, Occupy Wall Street would never have become so globally documented. Throughout my research I realized that I was not finding any articles directly stating facts regarding the use of technology benefitting the movement. However, through talking it out with myself I realized there are more ways to prove my argument. I have decided I am going to begin looking at other protests from years past, before technology had the impact on our society that it does today. By looking at past riots, like the World Bank protests in Seattle, approximately fourteen years ago I will be able to illustrate to my audience that comparably the #occupy movement spread like wildfire. The question to ask your self’s now is, why. Why did Occupy go viral? As the Los Angeles Times quotes, ” “It started as a catchphrase and became a global movement.” Throughout my research I will work through understanding how that came to be.

Also I want to explore the aftermath that #occupy has created. Due to the successes of Occupy and the popularity it has generated, movements have begun to spread. Banning banks from trying to foreclose people’s homes have created uproars, leading to people staying stagnant in local’s homes making it nearly impossible for the banks to enter homes and take them away. People around the world began “occupying” everything. From streets to homes to parks, every place that someone needed help, citizens were willing and able to do whatever they could to lend a hand. Occupy really came to be a thing, the concept of it really struck a cord within people. The term itself ended up evolving into this movement, it became a branch of its own.


To prove that Occupy is a protest unlike anything we have ever seen before, my first step will be to research in-depth the chronological timeline about how occupy came to be and the velocity of it. Without technology, and how “tuned in” our society has now become, I believe #occupy would not have reached the height it has. Technology has allowed the movement to span city to city, country to country and continent to continent, all striving to succeed at one thing: change. I chose Occupy Wall Street because I believe people need to become more informed with not only the movement, but also the power and effects technology has on our world today.

Research Questions:

—How am I going to prove that technology influence the #occupy movement?

—How/why did Occupy become so viral? What aspect was it that made people so “tuned in” and eager to help different causes?

—Finding the right data that is congruent with my argument:

  • —Without technology Occupy would not have become so global?

—Where do you guys think I should look?

—How should I develop my argument?

—Have you come across any articles that you think could help me with my discussion?

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Kevin said...

What I think is so interesting about your project and the Occupy Wall Street moving in general is how these people do not have any clear demands. It seems to me that it is relatively useless to stand on the streets and protest just for the sake of protesting. NPR discusses how there is a political paradox at work her because the majority of individuals will not take to the streets without a clear plan of action, but those who already have taken to the streets support the ambiguity of the movement. They believe that “something” must change on Wall Street, but it almost seems that they believe that “something” should be solved by Wall Street executives themselves, as opposed to appealing to a specific plan supported by the people. I think examining this paradox could be very useful for your project. Feel free to check out the NPR link here:

In relation to social media, I think your strongest claim for saying that this movement would not be possible without these services is the fact that the movement started with a single hashtag. The article “From a Single Hashtag,a Protest Circled the World” addresses the significance this hashtag provided to the movement.

It seems to me that you could make a strong case stating how word would never have traveled so fast without the use of this hashtag. However, I also think your decision to look at how protests developed before social media will add much needed strength to this argument.

// 04/24/2014 at 12:17 pm