The Occupy Wall Street movement has not been shy about its reliance on social media to spread its message, coordinate and recruit new members.
But now, a marketing firm has conducted an analysis on the major social networks and discovered something intriguing: Twitter is far and away the leading place for sharing information about Occupy Wall Street online.
New York-based marketing firm Attention wrote tracking queries for mentions of Occupy Wall Street across the Web over a one-month-period between September 10 and October 10, discovering that 82 percent of the total mentions online occurred on Twitter, compared to just 2.8 percent for Facebook, 0.5 percent on YouTube and 12.6 percent on the blogosphere. (H/t: TechCrunch).
As Emily Chambliss at Attention writes: “Just as they did during the Arab Spring movement, people have once again turned to Twitter as the most popular venue to share information about Occupy Wall Street. Other networks had less volume of mentions about the movement, so I chose to focus on Twitter.”
Another finding: the mentions of Occupy Wall Street occurred most frequently on weekends.
Chambliss offers one potential explanation for the phenomena: “Typically, we see mentions peaking mid-week while people are pretending to be working. My interpretation of this uncommon trend speaks to the immense passion the supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Rather than tweet at the convenience of their desks, they used their weekend time to spread awareness of a cause they truly believe in.”
That said, a simpler explanation might just be that the weekend protests are generally better attended, as employed people who are curious about the movement or interested in participating are more likely to turn out during their off time. More people in attendance means more digital devices tweeting live from the scene.
Also, from what TPM has noticed in our coverage of the demonstrations, many protesters have said that they were spurred to attend based on Facebook images from Zuccotti Park and other Occupy events across the country.
So while Attention has presented a compelling case that Twitter is the preferred online communications method for the Occupy protesters, it’s also critical to note that volume doesn’t necessarily reflect impact or engagement.
Indeed, as The New York Times reported on Saturday:
Inspired by the populist message of the group known as Occupy Wall Street, more than 200 Facebook pages and Twitter accounts have sprung up in dozens of cities during the past week, seeking volunteers for local protests and fostering discussion about the group’s concerns.
Some 900 events have been set up on Meetup.com, and blog posts and photographs from all over the country are popping up on the WeArethe99Percent blog on Tumblr from people who see themselves as victims of not just a sagging economy but also economic injustice.
In fact, the “WeArethe99Percent” Tumblr has recently yielded the most coherent distillation of the protesters’ demands yet, thanks to a separate data analysis by Rortybomb blogger Mike Konczal.
As the movement continues to gain steam around the country, expect more creative uses of social media and other tech to follow. We’ll also continue to track them here at TPM.