Occupy Facebook: The Occupy Movement is Planning and Launching Their Own Social Network January 2012

Occupy Facebook?  It’s not just a slogan anymore!  Watch out Facebook, the Occupy protest is making its own social network. The Global Square is expected to launch in January 2012, providing a secure space for Occupy protestors to organize, share, and meet fellow protestors, according to its developers. It will also boast a Facebook-like news feed. Unlike Twitter and Facebook however, new Global Square members must be sanctioned by existing ones before being accepted.

This news comes just days after Twitter reports it was subpoenaed by the Massachusetts DA’s office for Occupy Boston account information.

Developers hope to get the site up and running as soon as January, giving protesters somewhere to occupy during wintertime: their computers.

from The “Official Wikileaks forum”

The Global Square: an online platform for our movement

A proposal on how to perpetuate the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform them into lasting forms of social organization.

This is a proposal made by a group of concerned global citizens who also act as volunteers for Take the Square, United for Global Change, 15october.net, European Revolution, WL Central and Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR). We do not pretend to represent or speak on behalf of anyone but ourselves.

The Global Square: Towards an Online Platform for the Occupy Movement

In its most recent tactical briefing for the Occupy movement, Adbusters correctly pointed out that, “of the many questions swirling around #OCCUPY, the most challenging is how to gel into a global movement without sacrificing the decentralized, leaderless model.” In the wake of the global day of action on October 15, the question now arises how our movement can evolve new organizational structures that will allow the assemblies — and their highly innovative participatory model of decision-making — to survive beyond the occupations and become a permanent fixture of our emerging global society.

How, in other words, can we perpetuate the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform them into lasting forms of social organization — at the global as well as the local level?

Currently, the organization of the occupations and the collaboration between them rests in part upon the innovative use of social media. However, as a group of volunteers who were directly involved in the coordination of the worldwide protests of October 15, we have found the existing social media to be increasingly restrictive in their functionality. While Facebook and Twitter have been very helpful for disseminating basic information and aiding mass mobilization, they do not provide us with the tools for extending our participatory model of decision-making beyond the direct reach of the assemblies and up to the global level.

What we need, at this point, is a platform that allows us to radically democratize our global organizational efforts. In addition to the local squares, we now need a global square where people of all nations can come together as equals to participate in the coordination of collective actions and the formulation of common goals and aspirations. For this reason, we call upon the revolutionary wizkids of the world to unite and assist in the development of a new online platform – The Global Square – that combines the communicative functions of the existing social networks with the political functions of the assemblies to provide crucial new tools for the development of our global movement.

The aim of the platform, in this respect, should not be to replace the physical assemblies but rather to empower them by providing the online tools for (trans)national organization and collaboration. The ideal would be both to foster individual participation and to structure collective action. The Global Square could be our own virtual Zuccotti Park, serving as a public space where different groups can come together to organize their local assemblies — and where different assemblies can join hands to coordinate their collective projects. In a way, The Global Square could be a groundbreaking experiment in building a global participatory decision-making system from the grassroots up.

To be more precise, the specific tools provided by this online platform could include the following (note that this list is far from exhaustive and will grow organically to include many other functionalities):

An interactive map that lists all ongoing assemblies around the world;
A search option allowing users to find squares, events, working-groups, etc.;
An aggregated news feed that lists the most relevant ‘status updates’ shared by the various assemblies (à la Facebook);
Individual ‘pages’ for each local square/assembly where participants can organize collectively, including the following functionalities:
– A calendar with upcoming events/actions;
– A forum for public debate, with the ability to open different threads;
– A list of all relevant documents/minutes uploaded by the assembly;
– The ability to create and edit new documents collaboratively;
– The ability to vote on specific decisions;
– The ability to submit new proposals.
A public and private messaging system that allows all individual users and assemblies to communicate and exchange information, reinforcing solidarity and mutual collaboration;
The ability to ‘scale-up’ local decisions, actions, and initiatives to the global level through a ‘sharing’ system that allows local assemblies to pose ideas, votes, and proposals to other assemblies in a horizontal, non-hierarchical fashion (i.e., straight from the local to the global level).

Furthermore, The Global Square should be 100% multilingual and open-source, so a community of developers can continue to add languages as well as functions.

Facebook and the other social networks have until now only offered the possibility to share and promote content. The Global Square, by contrast, should encourage the active participation of citizens, the consolidation of online working groups, the collaborative scheduling of events, the establishment of consensus, the process of participatory budgeting, and the exchange of needs, proposals and ideas – in a local and a global context – between individuals and assemblies. Furthermore, to promote the widespread uptake of the platform, the creation of a minimalist, user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing design is of the utmost importance.

We are aware of the existence of social platforms like n-1.cc, used by the Spanish movement, yet we feel that these have a number of shortcomings. They are not very user-friendly and not universally accessible for citizens from different national backgrounds. Also, resulting from a lack of funds and time, these platforms have not been able to develop the level of complexity required to provide all the functionalities listed above. We realize that the project we are proposing is a very ambitious one. But we hope that our movement can seize this opportunity to prove once and for all that creativity, innovation and dynamism can flourish in a collaborative, non-profit framework — and that it is possible to ensure a form of participatory democracy beyond the nation state.

We believe The Global Square could make a significant contribution to the consolidation of the assemblies and the development of our global movement. It is important to note, however, that the project will require significant funding, as well as a team of full-time professional developers. As we know that Occupy Wall Street plays an exemplary role within the movement, we are turning specifically to you for help in further refining this idea and initiating the search for funds and developers for a beta-version of the platform. We would be very interested to hear your ideas, suggestions and criticisms of this proposal. We can be reached at info@theglobalsquare.org.

Finally, we have registered a domain (theglobalsquare.org — not active yet) that we would happily share with the movement (other suggestions are, of course, very welcome too). We are looking forward to a public conversation with all of you on how to make this idea work in a way that involves and benefits all. From the local village square to the global village square — it is time for us to unite!

In solidarity,

The volunteers at:

Take the Square
WLCentral.org
United for Global Change
15october.net
European Revolution
Reflections on a Revolution

Although this concept is a great idea, not all great ideas come to fruition.  Some fail during launch, others just never catch on with their intended audience.

Josh Constine of Mashable outlines his comcerns writing….

The Global Square is something Occupy and other protesters need. To scale Occupy’s flat organizational structure, it will require a way for geographically dispersed groups to interact without using representatives. I believe in Occupy’s goal of widespread, grassroots institutional change, and The Global Square will help. However, here’s why it might not work as well as planned:

1. The Global Square Will Be An Echo Chamber

Coordinating different groups is great, but then what? A major distribution mechanism for the movement’s message has been the corporate social networks. That’s because there the message can reach an uninitiated mass audience and grow the movement’s ranks. In contrast, a dedicated protest could devolve into an echo chamber of the converted preaching to the converted

By organizing via these mainstream networks instead of on a dedicated protest network, there would be no loss of momentum from planning to execution. It would also make it significantly easier to onboard new members. If The Global Square and the Occupy movement at large is going to succeed, it will at least need a substantial presence on Facebook and Twitter. It might be better to build there too.

2. There’s Already Diaspora

Pent up discontent with Facebook and Twitter has in part been relieved through Diaspora and other existing open source social networks. Diaspora offers a great deal of flexibility in how individual, decentralized “pods” function. Working within Diaspora rather than parallel to it could be more efficient. A “Global Square pod” could also draw participation from those already familiar with Diaspora — a demographic that likely has a lot of overlap with protesters.

3. Still Subject To Subpoena

Unless data was housed in international waters, The Global Square’s data and messages would still be subject to subpoena by the government of wherever it was hosted. If located in the US where its developers reside, The Global Square could make it more difficult for law enforcement to request data than Facebook, or even Twitter which has historically been less cooperative with authorities. Still, its creators could be punished if they don’t comply with direct court orders for data.

With all the corruption and lack of transparency in today’s governments, changing the system is a noble goal. There are definitely advantages to developing a new, dedicated tool for this purpose. To accomplish its end goal, though, The Global Square will need to harness world’s frustration as efficiently as possible. An isolated network may raise too high a barrier to participation.\

American’s Be Fruitful and OCCUPY!!!

and please don’t forget to “Like”

Occupy Cyberspace-American Autumn’s

 blog and Facebook Fan page!

Advertisements

6 comments on “Occupy Facebook: The Occupy Movement is Planning and Launching Their Own Social Network January 2012

  1. Not to mention, are they going to purchase a server and t1 connection as well? That alone could cost upwards of a half million dollars, short of that a developer with no funds would most likely build this on a VM. Like an Amazon cloud solution or something like that, the government could still subpoena Amazon or any third party hosting solution for this data and they would have to comply. Not to mention who is going to administrate this application, moderate threads, content, users and so forth, I would imagine they wouldn’t want any negative content aimed at the movement. This almost becomes a government of its own, where messaging and direction needs to be agreed upon, moderated and delegated to the appropriate groups. Sort of takes the democracy out of this entire movement. Your just becoming another channel dictated by one point of view created by a small percent of occupy movement much like the enemy.

  2. Living in liberty and freedom has a new face thanks to you out there that care. The social network that thinks globally but is involved in the local community, creating the opportunity to do the good work for all and one!

  3. Oh my gosh this is GREAT I have a disability so I cant do the sit ins. This will be my way of being there and participating !!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s