HOW HAS THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT USED SOCIAL MEDIA? Occupy was initially ignored and/or ridiculed by the legacy media corporations, so the demonstrators responded by employing their own media, which included viral emails, blogs, social networks like Facebook, and other social platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter. Dismayed by the corporate media's spotty and cynical coverage, Occupiers relied instead on telling their own story. At the same time, it's easy to exaggerate their effect. Ultimately, it's people who make the difference — not technology.
WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT IDEA YOU HOPE READERS WILL COME AWAY WITH? If there's one thing that unites the disparate stories and ideas in my book, it is the centrality of our need for trust. Gallup polls show that more than three of every four Americans now have "little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, fairly, and accurately." If we can't find reliable news, and we can't trust either the legacy media or new media brands that are now flooding us with information of all sorts, then it will be impossible to maintain our system of democracy, which obviously relies on an informed citizenry to function. But I'm optimistic that ultimately the ongoing digital information revolution will help us not only to trust, but also to verify.
Rory O'Connor speaks at Brookline Booksmith on May 22.
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