Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a protest of a new breed. Fueled by mass marketing and messaging over social media sites, the original organizers were able to gain the world’s attention extremely quickly and spread their message rapidly. Although this may sound like the organizer’s dream- to reach millions of responders in minutes- this dream can easily turn into a nightmare.
Bill Wasik discussed in an article concerning flash mobs, groups that gather for a shared bond, have the potential to become uncontrollable and even violent. When the individuals become connected to the group, their feelings can become magnified and empowered. Power may come with numbers, but destabilization and disorganization follow. Waskik retells and an incident where the artist Kaskade tweeted for his followers to come to an impromptu block party. Only expecting about 1,000 fans to show-up, 5 times that amount came. When police became involved to help manage the size, a riot ensued. Within an hour, a seemingly innocent block party had turned into a dangerous disturbance.
OWS shared a fatal flaw to the Kaskade event; both eventually lost control to the masses that had responded. OWS’s message was an important one that needed to be brought to attention, and acted on, but as it grew stronger, the overwhelming response weakened the movement.