On Saturday, I was looking for coverage of the NYC Occupy Wall Street event because I knew my daughter was there. With the dogged devotion of a good mother (and former ‘60s protester), I surfed all the channels my DirecTV would give me. Not finding any live coverage, I went to the web, and found livestream.com. Wow! Before I knew it, I was streaming the NYC, Berlin, London and St. Louis feeds. On the right side of the screen, comments were flying up and out, from all the folks signed in with names like “wedidit” and “darthvadersmom.” The Berlin chat was hysterical, (especially since my German is limited to bar language) mostly in German (duh!) but interspersed with “Hello from San Jose!” to “Angela Merkel ist eine MILF!” followed by chants along with the video in all kinds of languages. The words take on a whole different meaning when typed by throngs of followers, as when the NYC feed was following the marchers down 6th chanting “Show me what democracy looks like? THIS is what democracy looks like” and “The whole world is watching!” watching…watching…whole world!
The biggest challenge is keeping up with the stream as it’s going – one post gave the website for contributions, others were providing links to new cities with live coverage, twitter feeds, blogs and websites. I clicked so many windows the cacophany, chats and images flying by made me feel like I was truly tangled up in the REAL worldwideweb.
You can see how many people are tuned in at any time – from 44 watching a guy slurping his soup in Memphis under a tent in the rain, responding to questions like “So do you guys have a permit or did you decide to occupy without one?” to over 6,000 if there are demonstrations. There are suggestions such as “Our friends at Occupy New Hampshire are facing police eviction tonight at 11 pm. Call the Manchester Mayor … or better yet stand with them in solidarity.”
When they’re not live, there’s still chat going on, while appropriate videos play (like Woody Guthrie) and the scroll at the bottom tells you how to get to the other links at occupystream.com. Every once in a while, between suggestions of what the world should do to stop the madness, somebody will post “I just came in here to see how the world is doing. ..hmm…let’s see…yup, still beautiful! LOVE YOU!”
Then there were the trolls. Anybody who’s been reading the online magazine responses for Huffington Post through the more extreme pubs knows that these spammers don’t have a great sense of humor. Retyping in bold and caps what Hitler would do to my mother is not entertaining. Apparently it’s difficult to be the chat moderator and kick some boring bulldogs off while others are concerned about free speech. Ah, the joys of democracy.
Right now they’re playing the great Howard Beal moment from Network, and there are 1744 of us online. One just typed “What is this movie?” and a reply was “Network. I’m mad as hell and I can’t stand it anymore. I’m also old as hell.”
I can’t tell you how happy I am to know there are wise, funny fellow humans on this planet ready to share what the rest of us want to say, without the MSM solipsisms and incessant commercials.
Here’s the link. See you there!