A site that generates a little controversy and a lot of buzz, Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street.
John Friedman over at Marketwatch got his socks all up in a knot with that website, as well as a couple other one-off Occupy ideas. These seem to be going in a direction different from what the older generations see as a “purist” approach to protest. Seeing the concept branching out and enveloping itself in other forms of expression leaves Friedman concluding that Occupy is “99% dead”.
But, to me, that’s silly.
We just endured fat men running around in Paul Revere costumes as part of a “Tea Party” movement that never numbered more than 10,000–and was funded by billionaires in the shadows like the Koch Brothers. Occupy has several times more participants–no one really knows. But what it’s also done is create social media buzz. That buzz isn’t dying out. With each new Occupy story that comes out in a given week, there is another rush of energy into social media.
I think this is a hard concept to grasp for someone who was brought up in a time where the television and newspapers “shaped” the public opinion. It goes back to a more 19th century style politics, where people had to tell you what they thought, face to face. (Yes, of course, there were newspapers, but people didn’t separate those from the editorializing that most of them did.)
Now the face-to-face contact comes through the internet, but the meme is the idea of a bunch of youngish (young at heart) people camping out in the middle of a city park.
I count the Hot Chicks as a success of Occupy. And you can be certain that some fashion executive is going to pick up on one of the girl’s styles, and you’ll be seeing it as youth fashion for 2012. This has always gone on. Certainly, it went on in the 1960’s with the rock music scene. How could it be a sign of something “99% dead?”
It is tough for people who report about media, in the Old Media, and look at New Media as something, like, a bit of a fad or “newfangled” thing, rather than communication technology that weaved itself into our lives over the past 15 years. What Occupy is doing is showing how these crosscurrents operate in contemporary America. Surely, I’m not saying anything new. But I am surprised when people who are reporting about the internet don’t see these patterns. The delivery vehicle is new. The approach is very old.
Or, how to put it? Sex sells.