"The Occupy Wall Street movement is growing, and lots of activity is taking place in social media," writes Social Media Research Foundation Director Marc Smith of Connected Action, who generated the "NodeXL SNA Twitter Map" above tracing the connections among people who tweeted the term “#occupywallstreet yesterday. Click here for larger image.
"DUMB MOBS," we tossed into the twitterflood of #occupywallstreet commentary this morning as Mark Steyn's "pampered, elderly children of a fin de civilisation overdeveloped world" slouched inchoately towards a public square near you, even as "progressive" opportunists seeking to distance themselves from their own crony-capitalist corruption were scrambling to align themselves with the delusional "99%." Howie Carr said it best:
The fact that the national Democrats are trying to throw in with these layabouts tells you all you need to know about both groups …
In a few months, we’ve gone from grassroots to George Soros astroturf. From Arab Spring to Irish Spring.
Smith's "Node XL SNA Twitter Map" brought to mind this image from an earlier post comparing the flocking behavior of Darwin's Starlings on Otmoor to the behaviors of humans signaling each other on Twitter: "Individuals, but moving in a single entity. And the reason for this behavior? Well, thousands of eyes looking for predators on the roost site. Nothing could escape their gaze, no raptor could surprise this soaring mass of bird flesh … The birds are also maneuvering for position, social position."
We were intrigued with the elegance and suggestiveness of "sociologist of computer-mediated collective action" Marc Smith's visualization (top) of who was twittering whom yesterday on the topic de jour. We were unsurprised to see the likes of MSNBC harpie Rachel Maddow (nearly 2 million followers) and Soros sucklings Media Matters (40 thousand plus) amongst the "top most between users," but it wasn't only the well funded who were able to wield influence. The map was "scaled by numbers of followers," our side of the aisle was having a lark shining the light of truth, justice and the American way on #occupywallstreet's "faux poos," and there was Big Journalism's own diggrbiii (7 thousand plus followers) among the top 10. Quality, not quantity?
We're hard-wired to read into things, to divine patterns that may at some level, at some moment of danger, be key to our survival. The analogy of smart-crowd twittering with coordinated starling swooping seems obvious, but what else? A human fetus, perhaps? Take another look. The foreboding of Yeats's "The Second Coming" comes to mind: "Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world …"
'Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you," John Adams wrote Abigail in 1800 in a much-quoted letter that resonates in this time of turmoil:
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
"The Littler 99%" posted by Dan of criticalmass and twittered with the hashtag #OccupySesameStreet. Compare little girl's wish list with actual "demands" posted by Occupy Wall Street bottom Mom's basement dwellers.
Having failed to study history, the great grandsons of great grandsons of our Founding Fathers have become Mark Steyn's "zombie youth 'occupying' Wall Street … contemptuous of the world that sustains their comforts."
Update: Cool. Link at New York Times Business Day's Twitter article.
Update II: Maggie's links. Thanks, Bird Dog!
Crossposted at Riehl World View.