I’ve been part of Occupy Austin since November, and from the start I found myself drawn to social media as a major part of my contribution. I already had an established blog, and a Twitter account with a few followers. My Twitter following has exploded since I began livetweeting events and writing more about the global uprising. I’m also quickly bringing the main @OccupyAustin account towards a personal goal of 10,000 followers.
Hardware like digital cameras, laptops and smartphones paired with software like blogging and social media turn everyone into a potential citizen journalist. A Twitter account might only have a handful of followers, but with the right technique your message can reach hundreds of thousands of people.
I’m happy to answer social media questions in the comments here, or in any watercooler post I write. Happy occupying, citizen journalists!
After a weekend of protest and controversy, it’s clear that the TransPacific Partnership, the secretive and far-reaching international trade deal negotiated in Addison, Texas is under fire. The more sunshine we let in, the less attractive this deal looks to world leaders.
The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala’s keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as “Git Haversall,” president of the “Texas Corporate Power Partnership,” and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the “2012 Corporate Power Tool Award,” which “Haversall’s” partner held aloft.
@BarackObama We Japanese appreciate your kindness such as Tomodachi operation. But we are not happy with TPP! #TPP — tweet by ファーファ＠座り込み (@saQra629)
On Saturday, I livetweeted and liveblogged from the TPP: Out of the Shadows rally. A collection of activists from around the country (and even a handful of international visitors) gathered in Addison Circle Park. The coalition, organized by the Texas Fair Trade Coalition, ranged from unions like the Teamsters to multiple Occupy groups like Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. I was dropped at the park around noon on a bus with about 40 occupiers and activists; I’d greatly enjoyed the quiet company of the National Nurses United contingent who were proud of their victory in the upcoming Chicago rally and Tom Morello concert. A lunch had been provided for some, but with no vegetarian options a few of us went in search of other food.
By the time I got back, the rally had grown to over 300 people. Red TPP balloons dotted the crowd, along with signs and banners. Occupy Austin had brought our banner from May Day, “Workers of the World: Occupy!” Anonymous supporters were even present among the crowd, a sign of the major push that movement has been making against the trade deal on social media. The only mainstream media I spotted were from Japan, but I didn’t catch which network they represented.
At about 2pm central time, we marched on the Intercontinental Hotel. This march had a permit; we were to remain on the sidewalk until we reached the roads immediately around the hotel. Teamsters assigned as parade marshals tried to enforce this, but occupiers led a surge into the streets some blocks ahead of schedule. We’d been told not to enter hotel property, even the parking lot, or risk arrest. Simple wooden barricades were placed at the entrance. A couple dozen cops were present, but none of the riot gear reported earlier in the week was visible, although dark suited federal police lurked around.
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