We’ve seen the memes, made the jokes and discussed the headlines. Is it just me or is the Occupy Wall Street movement so yesterday?
When I mentioned my idea for this column, it sparked some friendly office debate. I got a lot of “It’s not over!” and “Don’t kill the movement!” from coworkers. Their quick reactions to my proposal made me want to write this column that much more. I am not trying to say anything negative about the movement, I am just saying it is old news — a natural progression for anything really.
Occupy Wall Street is Over: Proof in the Numbers
While the actual event is still going on, I believe the Occupy Wall Street trend is over. Initially, I noticed interest waning when I started to hear fewer reports of the protests on media outlets such as Bloomberg and ABC-7 radio. Wanting to put concrete evidence to my theory I turned to the internet.
Google Trends Provides Hard Numbers
I hopped on to Google Trends to see what the search history for “Occupy Wall Street” would show and was not at all surprised to see a sharp decline this month.
The ‘A’ shows where searches peaked, which was around October 9, 2011 according to a more detailed Google report. At this date search traffic was 12.4 times the average amount of search traffic for Occupy Wall Street in 2011, which dropped off to 6.1 just three weeks later. Unfortunately you could not compare the view over the past three months, since the movement began.
You could see the change over the past 30 days; Occupy Wall Street searches dropped from the highest point of 2.06 on Oct. 15 to .56 in early November. Reasons for the spikes in October were because of altercations with police and larger marches in Washington.
The news reference volume below the search volume index shows how many times the term Occupy Wall Street appeared in Google News Stories.
Twitter Shows A Drop Too
Doing a simple search for “Trending Tweets” brings you to the website Trendistic, where you can plug in terms to see how many are tweeting about them. Since Occupy Wall Street heavily utilized social media to get the word out I figured this was a pretty good indicator. Shown below is a screenshot taken from Trendistic showing the declining tweets.
According to this chart, tweets containing “Occupy Wall Street” dropped from .08% of all time tweets in mid-October to .01% in mid-November. Yet another example that the buzz around Occupy Wall Street is dying.
OWS Catered to American’s Short Attention Spans
Before you start drafting your hate mail, consider the fact that I am just reporting figures and statistics.
Although the idea behind Occupy Wall Street is a great one, at the end of the day, this movement gained traction because it was a sensational story that the media could latch onto. The public wants easily digestible stories which can be read in between meetings or for distraction.
Just because media buzz has died down is it justifiable to call the movement over? Yes (remember this is an opinion piece here). It is my prediction that interest will drop along with the temperature, unless there is one more sensational story about someone dying of frostbite, or not leaving the park day or night — even so, it would extend the impending death of the movement just a tad bit longer.
I think there is another important question ask: was (excuse my use of past tense) the movement successful? Yes (still an opinion piece, guys).
Occupy Wall Street: Success
I have had a lot of feelings towards the protests, ranging from negative to frustrated to positive. I even went down to visit the protesters myself and had an eye-opening experience. When all is said and done, I think the protests have made a positive impact on our nation. With an upcoming election in the works, many politicians are trying to figure how to cater to the anger of the protesters. Even if the intentions of the politicians are selfish, the results may be just what the country needs.
There are so many examples of ways the protests have been a success. Bank of America rescinding their $5 debit card swipe fee is the largest example from the banking end. More and more people are realizing the power of the internet to voice their grievances. Financial companies are structuring business models around providing more truth and transparency to consumers.
All these changes have been sparked by individuals banding together to show their disgust with the state of the country — the initial goal of the protesters. Good job guys! Now I think it’s time to go home, warm up and think about applicable solutions.