Social Media Collaborative Storytelling: The Occupy Movement and the Narratives Constructing It

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
Social Media developed in the 21st century have become tools for people to transmit and express their opinions for the global political scene. At the same time a worldwide recession and financial crisis has lead the people to make use of these technologies in means that were never intended to when they were launched. Looking specifically at the Occupy movement and the role of social media, this paper will argue that Twitter cultivated the ideal conditions for this social movement to bring together online and offline activist communities that shared common values. Considering the use of Twitter during a number of protests that adapted the ‘Occupy’ name, slogans or rationales, incubated in New York, London, Madrid and Athens, this paper will be premised upon the following advances. First, that this platform is increasingly evolving into means for collaborative storytelling by the social movement activists, endowing them with a collective identity and a sense of belonging. Twitter’s discursive identity appoints an interactive role to the activists who use the medium as a tool to synergetically construct the movement’s story. Second, that this Occupy collective identity is now traceable in an one-time system where the realization of the Occupy movement is portrayed simultaneously in the world and inside its networks of production, online and offline. Presenting the story of Occupy, Twitter becomes the score and the machine by the same token: the digital container of the story. A story that begins with solid social conventions, evolves through stages of dispute and crisis, and ends with a rather permanent openness or lack of resolution.