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Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part


8:50 am - November 4th 2011

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contribution by Kenth Gustafsson

It would appear that many of us (including the odd city worker) feel generally supportive of the #Occupy movement, and may want to express this without having to find our old tent in the attic and physically join #OccupyLSX.

The thought of having to announce at the dinner table that you are packing tonight to join the efforts down at St Pauls cathedral may well put an awful lot of potential protesters off.

I suggest that the internet could offer an easy and fun way for potentially many thousands of people to become engaged.

What if you had a website, at the core of which was a map of e.g. London, where you could pitch your virtual tent near St Paul’s cathedral (and outwards from there)?

What if the only requirements for being allowed to pitch your tent were that you are generally supportive of the #Occupy movement and agree to a statement similar to ‘that corporate greed must be stopped and that runaway inequality must be reversed’?

What if, after you had pitched your tent, anyone (or only any campers?) could click on the tent symbol on the zoomed in map and a little window/bubble would offer a brief message as a banner/placard in the bubble?

They could be called ‘second homes for the 99%’ identified by their ‘new postcode’ which you could zoom into on the map and then find their tent.

Imagine exploring your new surroundings and neighbours and starting talking to people that feel the same way as you. The site could of course then develop blogs and discussion forums and have links to other sites.

Let me know what you think and would like to help out on this idea.

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Reader comments


1. Alisdair Cameron

Not sure I’m altogether enamoured with a protest/farmville mash-up. Also, clicktivism has many limitations, and shouldn’t we be encouraging more real world activism, plus interaction campaigning on others‘ websites etc, (and of course the odd discussion forum too)? There’s a danger of a site such as that you propose being an inward-looking enclave, thereby limiting the reach of the message. Better surely to ask folk to do real-world stuff, and when online to do things like change their avatars, use twibbons etc to keep the protest visible on the mainstream web, as opposed to corralling it on a siloed site.

How soon would it become troll central?

Fabulous idea.

That way everyone could protest in their PJs from the comfort of their home.
It cuts out the potential embarassment of being seen with a bunch of smelly malcontents and serial protestors sitting in the rain.

(If the economy was in better condition half those at St. Paul’s would be on a gap year enjoying the floods in Bangkok instead. No wonder they’re bloody angry)

4. Raymond Lyons

hello-have been going to occupation around work etc but not camping. Would love to pitch my virtual tent, think its a great idea though as I’m useless with computers I can’t do more than that. Good luck!

I think this is a great idea and would demonstrate that it’s not a few who care about the objectives of the Occupy movement. It would of course have trolls, and a portion of people would just be one timers who never come back, but so does facebook, youtube and all the popular social websites we have. That doesn’t make them useless or impotent. I’m a software developer who might be able to help here and there so please contact me. If you’re able to get my email address from my comment then great – I’d rather not post it here if possible but will if needed.

Kind of an interesting idea, but needs more elements.

1) I think there needs to be more commitment on the part of whoever decides to pitch virtual tent – the most simple way to do this would be to require a donation in order to pitch your tent.

2) The money raised from the donation is channelled to the physical protest

3) The donation would also prevents trolls, who generally would not want to pay to hurl abuse.

So it’s a win-win. You get to Occupy a virtual space, and in so doing you support the physical occupation materially, which is kind of more meaningful than just a show of moral support. Donations can start at £5

Your proposed mechanism of protesting is to pitch a virtual tent in a virtual world? Because if the virtual tents flow out of St Paul’s virtual courtyard and down virtual Paternoster Square, THEN the ConDem capitalist lackeys will have to sit up and take notice (virtually), eh? Can you really not see how all the piss-taking of Occupy as a bunch of middle class pie-in-the-sky ponces, who all pack up and go home to their warm suburban beds each evening, would multiply tenfold?

Sooooo it’s a fancy web petition?

I guess it’s possibly a bit of a nice advert, but at it’s heart it’s a colourful epetition.

I love the idea, it could be really fascinating.

I agree with Suitpossum that a donation would be good, if only to deter illegitimate campers. Sharing that you’ve just pitched your tent on Twitter and Facebook would be key. And was would thinking of reasons to get people to visit regularly – perhaps your tent disappears if you don’t visit it for a week.

Why just London? And why not have different district associated with different elements of the movement. You could have an ‘anti-capitalist’ district and a ‘real democracy’ zone. Then where you pitch your tent would signify the group that you most identify with.

I’m happy to help if the project gets off the ground. I have some MySQL, PHP and jQuery skills and have done some Twitter/Facebook integration before.

10. Kenth Gustafsson

NotThe Face
Thanks for your comment – you can contact me on virtualoccupy@gmail.com if you like for further discussions.

11. Kenth Gustafsson

Suitpossum and John Jameson:
Thanks for your suggestions – I like your ideas, they make sense. However, to get something off the ground it should perhaps not be too complicated to start with…

12. Kenth Gustafsson

Suitpossum and John Jameson:
Thanks for your suggestions – they make sense. However, to get off the ground the site should perhaps not be too complicated to start with…


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  2. barry f

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  3. Kelly

    #occupyLSX #occupyLondon RT "@libcon: Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/E7suiWvB"

  4. The Fat Councillor

    Dear god. I've seen it all, now… “@libcon: Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/lD06X2EJ”

  5. See below

    Dear god. I've seen it all, now… “@libcon: Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/lD06X2EJ”

  6. Ambrosine Shitrit

    Dear god. I've seen it all, now… “@libcon: Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/lD06X2EJ”

  7. Justin McKeating

    For fuck's sake. Fucking clicktivism http://t.co/64scldmo

  8. J Clive Matthews

    Dear Lord. This is why I hate politics >> RT @justmckeat For fuck's sake. Fucking clicktivism http://t.co/Pl2VDxoo

  9. Stephen Spillane

    Dear Lord. This is why I hate politics >> RT @justmckeat For fuck's sake. Fucking clicktivism http://t.co/Pl2VDxoo

  10. Owen Blacker

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  11. Alex Harrowell

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  12. Janet Graham

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  13. Alastair Johnstone

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  14. Vicky Castle

    “@libcon: Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/g2TppIAj”

  15. Neil

    Ridiculous: Virtual occupy London http://t.co/obmx2uz0 #oslx

  16. Adam Round

    Virtual occupy London – how anyone could take part http://t.co/UD7lOwr7

  17. from darkest Peru

    Dear Lord. This is why I hate politics >> RT @justmckeat For fuck's sake. Fucking clicktivism http://t.co/Pl2VDxoo

  18. from darkest Peru

    http://t.co/S7CSUjCK FFS. Imbecilic. Moronic. Pretentious. Vapid. Self-deluding. Vacuous. Cretinous. Shallow. Amour-f**king-propre

  19. from darkest Peru

    http://t.co/S7CSUjCK Write a sodding letter. Sign a petition. Try to persuade family & colleagues. But "Virtual occupation"? #headdesk





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