Advice for #OccupyVancouver

Posted on November 1, 2011


Occupy Wall Street Occupy Social Media

Occupy Wall Street Occupy Social Media

I’m not sure what you did on Halloween, but I celebrated by handing out a bunch of apples to some strangely enthusiastic children (what is WRONG with kids today?You’re supposed to throw the apples at the house!) and getting into a Twitter fight with Occupy Vancouver.

At least they were smart enough not to engage with me directly from that account, although their Followers and the loyalty of those Followers would have increased dramatically if they had.

It all started when Pete Quily fired a shot (metaphorically, you understand. We’re hippies!).

and I piled on, as is my wont.

and umbrage was taken, or at least curiosity piqued, although I expect Occupy Vancouver will now be served with documents from City Hall demanding that they had permits for the umbrage and are carrying up-to-date licenses for piquage.

I don’t know Greg Renouf, but it’s fair to say from the profile that Twitter’s not his specialty. Heck, he’s not even following Occupy Vancouver, and in these paranoid times I think it appropriate to have wondered if he’s even associated with them, but then I thought what the hell, maybe someone who’s paying attention will use my advice for good anyway, and so I let fly.

Nicely. Well, for me.

Not only are they STILL tweeting videos of David Suzuki, but the very next tweet from Occupy Vancouver was about the Tom Morello appearance, back on October 19th. It is, I remind you, October 31st today. This highlights another weakness of the Occupy Vancouver social media activities: celebrity focus. Look, we all get that it’s big news when Mister Rage Against the Machine comes out to speak to you, but by continuing to tweet about it all you highlight is that YOU GOT NUTHIN LEFT.

Twitter is one of the most powerful drivers of attendance and excitement that I, in a twenty year history of event production, have ever seen. Do not use it to make people wistful: use it to get them excited about what’s coming up. Use it to inspire them to show up, or to follow it on social media, and make damn sure to be covering what’s going on right now, even if it’s three in the morning and things are quiet. Tweet when you’re heckled by drunks. Tweet when a raven comes down and plays with some string. Twitpic the moon as it rises over the clock tower; emotion is a mighty chain that is forged one small link at a time.

It’s the Economy, Stupid. Or rather, it’s the LOCAL Economy, Stupid. The more connected to your local community you are, the more legitimacy you have when saying that the political process no longer represents the people. If you’re following a hundred iterations of Occupy Monaco and tweeting about celebrities who left a week and a half ago, you could be said to be failing to be part of the solution, if you know what I mean. At the very least, you are wasting your own time and attention, and you’re sucking at outreach. Use a tool like Twellow and find everyone who self-identifies as a Vancouverite, and Follow all of them. Yes, all of them. Don’t just preach to the converted; you need to preach to the opponents, but more than that, you need to speak your truth in front of as many neutral or undecided people as possible, because the goal here isn’t to have a manageable twitter stream, the goal here is to change the world. You’ve got to think big, and reach out to more than you think you can handle, because changing the world is that big a job, even if you’re doing it by staying hyperlocal.

The goal of the twitter stream is NOT to stay in touch with other Occupy movements. The goal of the Twitter stream is to do outreach, drive engagement, and facilitate attendance and action. Other Occupy movements are useful in so far as they contribute to that, but no more.

Don’t see some twenty year old with a smartphone and say “Hey! He’d be perfect for the Twitter stream!” I’ve been to Occupy night after night. I’ve seen the age range. I’ve seen the tweets of some of the people onsite. You have sophisticated people who support you, whether they’re onsite 24/7 or not. Use them. Youth does not equate to expertise: this is a fallacy that trips up multinational corporations; please be smarter and more nimble than this.

No questions were forthcoming. I don’t think he was expecting the inundation.

The wifi IS a problem. It’s a big problem. When I go down there, I have to run off to Starbucks to blog it. If you have rocket sticks, wind, mobilicity, whatever, they’re wanted. And surely there must be a way to donate dataplan minutes, no?

It doesn’t diminish the movement to rt non-celebrities from time to time. It goes back to engaging with the community. Ask people things; they want to tell you. The GA could be significantly increased if people could participate via social media as well. And the GA is the transformative experience at Occupy Vancouver.

Twitter, the vascular system of revolution

Twitter, the vascular system of revolution