Having participated on the fringes of #occupy, this story attracted my interest (and the poster above uses a number of iconic memes!):
The Occupy movement is a disparate yet articulate protest movement directed against economic and social inequality. Although it has not rushed to make demands, it has galvanised support with the slogan “The 99 per cent”, referring to the concentration of wealth among the top 1 per cent of income earners. As a meme, “Occupy” has propagated far and wide, but it does not appear to have gained as much traction as one might have thought among those at university. This is not 1968. Like structuralism then, the mass of students today are not taking to the streets.
Occupy Wall Street came to an unglamorous end in mid-November, and the clock is officially ticking for the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. One protester I met in the “Information Tent” at St Paul’s was pragmatic. All the tents, he explained, would be removed as soon as the court ruling decreed. But I was also told that the idea of Occupy will remain steadfast.
During a lecture, I wrote on the board “#ows”, the Twitter hashtag then circulating in relation to Occupy Wall Street. I asked if anyone recognised it. Out of some 60 media undergraduates – many of them Twitter users – not one knew. And even when told, a less-than-excited murmur rippled through the room. Despite a number of high-profile scholars lending support to the Occupy movement, little interest has registered across the other 99 per cent of the university population.
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Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.