Pundits and politicians have created quite the commotion about social media's role in the #OccupyWallStreet demonstrations, both nationally and around the world. A new research on the copious number of Occupy Wall Street-related posts indicates that more people are tweeting to sing the movement's praises than to criticize it.
Twenty-two percent of tweets using the #occupywallstreet Twitter hashtag are supportive; while only about 11 percent of tweets using the hashtag are negative, according to a study by research firm NM Insight.
Posts about the movement spiked on October 6 with 13,133 messages and videos posted on various boards, blogs and sites, according to NM Insight. On October 5, the protesters got a boost in support when various unions and community organizations joined them in marching through lower Manhattan.
Most of the Occupy Wall Street Twitter activity is concentrated on the East and West Coasts, NM Insight found. The protests started on the East Coast in New York City and have since expanded to San Francisco and Los Angeles. There have also been a high volume of tweets in other states such as Michigan, Ohio and Texas.
The high volume of information coming from social media outlets has allowed the media, politicians and other organizations to use the information to try and anticipate the group's next steps, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Some websites are taking the Occupy Wall Street watch a step further, using YouTube videos and Flickr images to create digital, real-time maps of the protests, according to Mashable.
Social media coverage has become such a crucial part of Occupy Wall Street that the group set up a media headquarters in Zuccotti Park, NPR reports. Colin Laws, a 19-year-old from Connecticut, told NPR that the group heavily relies on social media to maintain its momentum.
According to NPR, Laws said:
"We have people that monitor social media such as Twitter and Facebook, people that monitor the news, people that live stream — that's a huge thing, actually, because that's how we get a lot of our news out to our followers."