On Information, Direct Action, and The Political Circus

deep breath

Okay.

I know. 

They said, “OWS has got to get involved in the election! You’ve got to stay relevant! Get in line and get involved in politics! blahblahblah…facepalm

And I’ve always been resistant, and I’ve always thought we ought to stick to our message and ignore what’s going on in the circus.

And I say, fuck that, we’re never going to cave to the pressure of the media machine. We’re much more powerful as a free radical force that can’t be bought and can’t be co-opted.

I’m a data nerd. And I’ve been looking at the numbers. And I hate seeing their message dominating the media landscape, when I think we still have an extremely relevant perspective, but we’re not getting it out enough. I believe in a different kind of action and engagement. Let’s look at

THE DATA.

Yup.

You guessed it.

A lot of people are talking about this shit.

Here’s some metrics comparing keywords one month ago

one week ago,

and last week.

This one’s interesting. Here’s a tag cloud querying a cross section of “#OWS” + “#RNC”.

The x-axis shows how frequently in time a term is mentioned, whereas the y-axis is how much in volume (read: retweets) a term is mentioned.

Analysis: While terms like ‘GOP’, ‘tcot’ and ‘obama2012.  are mentioned more frequently, the term ‘occupy’ still receives more social spread on an individual basis. Even though our enemies have lots of attention, we still have the power of words. The word occupy still resonates with people.

But it’s just a word. Words are our tools, until we make them our masters. They are our weapons. Believe in yourself or not – We actually have intellectual high ground over the hypersimplistic polarized narrative game that currently dominates the information arena. Our mission is to infiltrate and disrupt that arena, because it is just as vital to the operation of machine as the activity of the screws on the trading room floor.

Simply from a data analysts’s perspective, I can off the top of my head think of a few simple tactics for media 

1. Curate a selected list of influential personæ talking about campaigns/conventions/elections. Engage with friend and foe alike, and invite others to do the same. Why should underpaid campaign journalists monopolize the conversation?

2. Co-opt their messaging. Jam their hashtags, create trojan horses out of their propaganda. GoogleBomb them, Santorum them, vandalize the internet. 

3. Watch the conventions on TV and troll the fuck out of their speeches & debates. …slow cringe

4. Organize scheduled interactive events that people can participate in and will talk a lot about. Let’s invite some well-known speakers to debate, and broadcast it on YouTube. Let’s organize online rallies. Temporally-based events are what drive social media traffic. We plan huge marches in the street and they barely get media coverage (MayDay anyone?) We have to _*be *_the media. Media academics endlessly debate about whether the internet is a dimension separate from the ‘real’ world and our ‘real’ lives, or if it’s not separate at all, it’s a place just like any other where we live our lives and interact with the world and the people and ideas in it. I’m of the latter persuasion, and firmly believe that we’re fighting a media war just as much as we’re fighting one in the streets. The revolution is in the streets – the ones we walk down every day, which are unmistakably both physical and digital.

This is a call to plan and execute actions of your own dreaming: act online with the same fervor that we do in the streets.

Your smartphone is as powerful as a molotov cocktail.

Let’s dream together, and keep our creativity flowing freely – we’ll never get in line and “get behind” the election. But we sure as hell will get engaged.

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