Laser Graffiti Occupies NYC! Plus, OWS as API

November 18th, 2011

Update: Charles Lenchner sends over an overview of recent Occupy-related technology, and c.f. the earlier roundup. Update II: Occupy Healthcare: Swapping Tents for Online Advocacy. Update III: Check out James Fallows’ excellent analysis of the role of video in shaping public perception of events over the last few days, The Moral Power of an Image: UC Davis Reactions.

Two Occupy stories to check out, one because it’s awesome and the other because it’s a hell of a metaphor. First, part of the Occupy Day of Action in New York involved laser graffiti projected onto a Verizon building:

Here are some stills, if you want to preserve the memory. Next, the Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal explores a fascinating idea: that OWS is best understood (in serious geek terms) as an API:

What an API does, in essence, is make it easy for the information a service contains to be integrated with the wider Internet. So, to make the metaphor here clear, Occupy Wall Street today can be seen like the early days of Nearly everyone accessed Twitter information through clients developed by people outside the Twitter HQ. These co-developers made Twitter vastly more useful by adding their own ideas to the basic functionality of the social network. These developers don’t have to take in all of OWS data or use all of the strategies developed at OWS. Instead, they can choose the most useful information streams for their own individual applications (i.e. occupations, memes, websites, essays, policy papers).

Showing some serious geek cred, he next explores the various database calls that would underlie a conceptual OWS API framework. Dude.

One other online politics-related story to note — super-easy publishing platform Tumblr has gone enabling activism to encouraging it, by asking its users to lobby against the “Stop Online Piracy” act in the House. Almost 90,000 phone calls to Congress in a single day! Bully for them.


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