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Ohio


Occupy Cleveland's next generation technology
Organizers hone in on new media using QR Codes and 'reply-all' texting.
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
and LAURA FONG


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Protesters gather in downtown Cleveland Thursday October 6, 2011.
Courtesy of LAURA FONG
Download (WKSU Only)

The protest songs, head scarves, and peace symbols may make the Occupy  movement look like something out of the 1960s. But the technology is pure Generation Next. And WKSU’S M.L. Schultze reports that it goes way beyond Facebook and Twitter.

SCHULTZE High-tech occupation

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As Occupy Wall Street spread to Cleveland, Cincinnati and throughout Ohio, it billed itself as a “leaderless resistance movement.” And its protests encompassed everything from war to bank bailouts to unemployment.

But – with everything from QR codes to reply-all texting – the movement has honed its use of social media.

Occupy Cleveland’s  communications team is known as the Tech working group. It’s started using those strange-looking square barcodes – also known as QR codes -- to direct people to Occupy Cleveland's online central command. James Bryan Parks is a volunteer who developed the smart-phone use.

“It’s a new format of barcode for your smartphone.  There are free apps, I personally use NeoReader.  Turn on the app, scan it, and it will take you directly to this website.”

He's referring to the web site that is ground control for organizers or Occupy Cleveland. It’s populated with downloadable posters and pamphlets, a discussion forum, and links to every possible way to get involved in the Occupy Cleveland movement.  It’s sophisticated yet democratic. Anyone can go on the site and access any of the information.

“You have something like this going on and it’s not being seen, it just encourages people to take it into their own hands, which I think is more powerful anyways.”

Parks says all of it came together in about a week.

J.W. Wolterman co-founded a company called BeGrouped in California.  BeGrouped is a text-messaging provider that allows people to join just sending a text.

Wolterman attended an Occupy Cincinnati event earlier this week and joined the movement. He’s donating a text channel to every “Occupy” group that wants one, as well as a national channel.

“BeGrouped allows the “Occupy” movement to send out texts immediately to everyone in the channel, they can receive messages back from people in the field, they can poll everyone, they can send private messages.  It’s very valuable for a group that’s as dynamic and fluid as this movement is.”

Wolterman estimates that within a couple of months, the donated service will total $20,000 to $30,000.

The Occupy movement is not ignoring other old and new media. It maintains a Facebook presence, Twitter accounts and sends out a stream of press releases to news organizations worldwide.

But toda'ys protesters maintain that whether old media picks up on those press releases no longer really matters.  

Listener Comments:

I really wish I knew what the real agenda is here. To me, it sounds as if this group wants something given to them. What are they looking for? It sounds like a bunch of radicals wanting a free ride. I've heard comments that student loans should be forgiven! Really? Who will absorb these costs? Do these people look into the future and what the outcome would be? Where is the money coming from? We are already BROKE as a nation. How can we afford to get into further debt. Somehow it has to be paid for. Isn't that the responsibility of each individual? Aren't we all responsible for our our debts? How silly!!


Posted by: mtk (Ohio) on October 20, 2011 10:10AM
QR codes and reply-all texting is not new technology....its been here for over 10 years now...well i guess this internet thing is finally caught on..


Posted by: Anonymous on October 18, 2011 4:10AM
Thank you for writing a story about this. I am totally amazed by what this Cleveland part of the movement has been able to put together in just a week or so. We welcome everyone--please come to Public Square for one or both of the two daily general assemblies (one at noon and one at 6 pm) to share your perspective and help solve the very real problems (local and national) we are working on fixing.


Posted by: Kathy Smith (Cleveland) on October 13, 2011 8:10AM
Just wondering what the headline is about? It's an obvious jab. And nowhere in the article is the allegation of disorganization substantiated. Also, the use of quotations around the word Occupy connotes illegitimacy. This piece is poorly written, from the standpoint of objective journalism.


Posted by: Ben Fenton (Kent, OH) on October 13, 2011 7:10AM
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