#OccupyTheFeed: The Enduring Power of Twitter’s Ephemeral ‘Feed
Twitter allows us to engage in far-reaching commentary and conversation with anyone across the globe in real-time, since we’re all connected to one another, locked into a dramatic movement as it unfolds in our ‘feed, living in the NOW, present. On Twitter, we get bits and bytes before major news outlets verify the information. Sometimes, (in the early days of Zuccotti Park, for instance), the newspapers are banned from the scene and we receive all of our information from our ‘feeds.
On Twitter, we can have unfiltered discussions about major issues as they’re happening (with real people across the world, like-minded individuals, celebrities, etc). Twitter has enormous reach. This is an #OWS tweet from Russell Simmons:
Twitter is such an odd and amazing place to spend time, but it often feels like the ‘feed ticks into oblivion, since most tweets are not archived by Twitter (there are other ways to search for tweets). In general, however, Twitter happens in real time, scroll down our computer screens, and then they disappear. I have a strange habit of taking screenshots of tweets that catch my eye, especially during specific news cycles. I catalog them and stick them in a folder for future reference. It’s kind of like creating a time capsule for real-time conversations and timely or unlikely thought bubbles that cease to exist immediately after they enter my consciousness.
I’m using this post to archive some tweets from the #OccupyWallStreet movement, plucked from “real-time,” extracted from the Twitterfeed, mostly dated from mid-September through early January and focusing primarily on a horrific night in November, when the police stormed Zuccotti Park and kicked all of the protesters out. Click here to read more about the police raid on November 15th.
Look at these Zuccotti Tweets from the people/police clash on November 15 (when formal media was allegedly banned). Watch how the old and near-forgotten in-the-moment word-of-mouth is patched together in this post. It awkwardly resembles a Frankenstein string of extracted tweets, a jagged collection of citizen’s headlines and frozen moments in time, buried in the Twitterfeed, dug out, and reconstructed as re-animated strands of thought and memory.
This is from Michael Moore’s ‘feed:
Interesting commentary coming from all angles:
Announcing the live-streaming video of the protests, a mix of anonymous people, celebrities, press, etc, all weigh in on the action as it’s happening:
The entire world had the opportunity to connect, watch, and discuss, as the events of that night unfolded:
Michael Moore was down at Zuccotti Park that night:
A report directly from a protester:
#ZuccottiPark, #NYPD, etc, were trending:
People reclaim Zuccotti Park on NYE:
and from some more well-known tweeters:
… and Salman Rushdie:
Looks a little bit like a personal organic memory, if we could visualize the construction process or create a visual timeline of our patched together ideas of what happened. Every memory of the same event is different on Twitter (from person to person, ‘feed to ‘feed), just like real-life, because every ‘feed is designed differently and every Twitter timeline is decorated according to personal preference, following different folks, reaching in different directions, dipping into personal spheres of interest. No two Twitterfeeds are alike, so every archive of patched-together “memory” is different.
*Note: Nothing in the cybersphere is lost forever. If you’re on Twitter and you don’t want to take screenshots of the “news” in real-time, click here for some helpful sites for searching and archiving after-the-fact. And click here for more tips on how to find old tweets. You can use sites like Topsy or DataSift to search Twitter as well. Twitter actually recently partnered with DataSift, and you can read more about this recent development in this article: “Twitter Partners With DataSift to Onlock Tweet Archive.”