How Technology Made Occupy Wall Street Both Irrelevant and Ubiquitous

Eight colums wide and three rows down of flat screen monitors with a keyboard in front of them

Image credit: Christopher Mims

By Christopher Mims

Watching the protest in lower Manhattan metastasize from an eager call for volunteers on various social networks to a full-on movement has been a dizzying exercise in the power of technology to render protest both irrelevant and remarkably powerful at the same time.

Perhaps this is the condition of all political movements in the 21st century, but Occupy Wall Street feels like a post-post-something exercise in the ability of social networks, citizen journalism and the always-on news cycle to amplify the power of symbols. It’s also a demonstration of the futility of trying to shut down an industry that has more or less completely dematerialized.


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