I’ll keep it brief. This site is not normally the place where I address politics or “The News.” I’ve been following the riots around Occupy Oakland with significant concern. However, we’re here to talk about storytelling and there is something going on that you shouldn’t miss when it comes to Occupy Wall Street and storytelling.
The movement has spawned all sorts of interesting storytelling events; an overwhelming amount of live citizen coverage in a way I really haven’t seen before; and an unprecedented use of technology for reporting. However, I think one element is far more successful than others in [tooltip content="As they say on CNN." url="" ]crafting the movement’s narrative[/tooltip]. That is the Tumbler site “We Are the 99 Percent.”
I recently discovered Occupationalist, a fascinating site dedicated to pulling in all coverage (and self-reporting) in and about the Occupy movement. I think it is notable that they put a photo feed of the posts on “We Are the 99 Percent” at the top of the page. These photos and the stories within are certainly far more affecting then all the people standing outside in the world.
The Tumblog is so effective because each post is self-reported and has a story of which we are clearly only seeing the tip. After all there is only so much you can fit in one photo. The real emotional impact is the implication that there are whole lives behind each page, ones that are bound in solidarity and possibly unhappiness, fear, poverty and more.
Within the world of journalism there have been a number of articles about why OWS is getting relatively little coverage and why, in general, journalists don’t like to cover protests. I think a big part of it is because the physical protests, out there in the parks and squares and where ever else, don’t have the type of clear narrative that news people like. However, more than that, the mainstream media can’t figure out how to effectively turn the OWS story into a story about people, which is exactly what “We Are the 99 Percent” has succeeded in doing.
Beyond that, “We Are the 99 Percent” is the most significant crowd-sourced reporting project I’ve ever seen. As I was writing this post, the Tumblog hit 200 pages, which comes to a total of 3,000 individual posts. That’s in slightly under 2 months.
Whatever you feel about the movement, whether you agree or disagree, whether you think they are doing the right thing or not, you need to go to “We Are the 99 Percent” and just read a few pages deep worth of posts.
These photos make it clear that there are real people out there and some are really suffering. Even a few minutes of reading can bring the realization that they are our fellow human beings and need help, somehow. Whatever your politics, you can’t help feeling sympathetic and perhaps a little sad.
That’s the story.
- JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Occupy Wall Street Doesn’t Need An Agenda (project-syndicate.org)
- Marketwatch Reporter says: “Occupy Wall Street is 99% Dead” (occupy-stories.com)
- William Bradley: Ocupado (huffingtonpost.com)
- Occupy Wall Street Gets Its Own Social Aggregator (mashable.com)
- The Making of Occupationalist.org (thedenveregotist.com)
- Dear Occupy Wall Street: You Are Not The 99 Percent! (hustleknockin.com)