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Occupy Wall Street - Don't forget the hashtag
A few months ago, I started posting about a topic that I find extremely intriguing – namely, the intersection of physical and digital media technologies and the impact of that convergence on our culture. You can read some of my first thoughts here and see some examples of these technologies at work here. The reason I’m writing today is to share yet another example, this time more cultural than technological.
I had the pleasure of presenting at a Lunch-and-Learn event yesterday where we discussed how to leverage social media analytics (and specifically, how to align with existing research frameworks such as brand tracking). To keep the topic timely and relevant for our audience, we chose to discuss Occupy Wall Street and Banking Fees. In the process of researching, I found many images of protest signs such as the one below:
I find the idea of hashtags on protest signs fascinating, reflecting the slow seepage of digital culture into the physical world. Whereas on Twitter a hashtag has meaning and function – it provides a standard for the system to index ‘themes’ or ‘conversations’ -- that ‘function’ is somewhat lost in the physical world. Or is it? What is the significance of this digital-physical intersection?
- Are protestors promoting the use of social media?
- Is this a case of self-promotion? “Look at me! I ‘get’ the digital age!”
- Or, is the hashtag becoming a non-digital signifier of taking part in a broader conversation?
Techno-sociologists, feel free to chime in! Maybe I read too much into it.
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I would say 1) and 3) are intimately related: it promotes the #OccupyWallSt hashtag to those unfamiliar with it, although I'm curious as to what the percentage of social media users unfamiliar with it would be. There's room for a joke about "The 1% don't know this hashtag".
There's also a good factor of cleverness and publicity to it, although I would have gone with a QR code myself.
Posted by: Luca Zanzi | Nov 4, 2011 3:41:48 PM
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