The digital evolution of occupy wall street

PLoS One. 2013 May 29;8(5):e64679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064679. Print 2013.


We examine the temporal evolution of digital communication activity relating to the American anti-capitalist movement Occupy Wall Street. Using a high-volume sample from the microblogging site Twitter, we investigate changes in Occupy participant engagement, interests, and social connectivity over a fifteen month period starting three months prior to the movement's first protest action. The results of this analysis indicate that, on Twitter, the Occupy movement tended to elicit participation from a set of highly interconnected users with pre-existing interests in domestic politics and foreign social movements. These users, while highly vocal in the months immediately following the birth of the movement, appear to have lost interest in Occupy related communication over the remainder of the study period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Communication*
  • Dissent and Disputes*
  • Economics / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Politics
  • Social Class*
  • Social Environment
  • Time Factors

Grant support

The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation (grant CCF-1101743), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (grant W911NF-12-1-0037), and the McDonnell Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.