Thousands of people don’t just show up to Occupy Wall Street because two people with cans and a string decided to organize a protest and brought along some of their friends. Nope. Occupy Wall Street isn’t your father’s protest. Today, phone calls, community meetings, letters, fliers and even text messaging have given way to a whole new slew of mobile apps that make protesting that much easier and efficient for everyone involved. In case you were planning your own protest against the 1% in a fight to create more jobs and restore the middle class, here are some apps to help you along the way.
Vibe – Time and time again, people post something on Twitter and have it come back to haunt them later. The right to free speech doesn’t stop political posts and ignorant statements for costing people their jobs, or worse. But if you want to protest and chat it up with your fellow marchers along Wall Street, you might want an anonymous way to send messages to one another. According to a recent Daily News article, one protestor noted that the app can especially come in handy if you see something getting out of hand and resulting in police action. Why get yourself arrested if you are among the innocent protestors? In addition to possible warnings being sent through Vibe, the app also allows you to post pictures, videos and other rants or ideas to pass along. The key here is that it’s all anonymous. You can send a post as a whisper sent out to only people within a 160 foot radius or a shout for those within a 31 mile radius to read. You can even bellow so the whole world can see your tweet-like message. And while it can be read by everyone within that radius, you never have to register to use the app, so all the posts do not have a name attached to them. Better yet, you can set how long the posts last, from 15 minutes to 30 days, meaning the old adage that web posts are forever is no longer true. Could come in handy, too, if you want to just vent about your boss and get away with it.
Square – Protests are hard and the free food that comes into Zuccotti Park is not actually free. And being part of the 99% means these protests can’t continue without a pooling of the resources. Protests and everything involved in planning them and keeping them going costs money and it’s a lot easier to get donations when everyone is in the spirit of “going against the man.” But who carries cash anymore. An app called Square gets around all of that. The free app and the free account you create allows you to accept credit cards through the Square Card Reader. The app accepts Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover and funds from those cards are deposited into the bank account the next day. The app also allows you to track sales and send electronic receipts via email or text message, which is great if your protest group is a 401c3 non-profit and donations are tax-deductible. Square also meets all industry-standard security practices to protect the customer and the business, so you don’t have to worry about any identity-theft. It’s simple to use and makes it easier to keep the movement alive.
QR Code Reader and Scanner - A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobiles phones with cameras and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. Your protest has a message that really can’t be boiled down to a quick, catchy saying – even the really catchy ones. People on the street – people you want to join the cause – might not understand completely what you are trying to get out of your protest. What exactly is Occupy Wall Street trying to achieve. Well, to make it easier for them, create a QR Code that leads people to your manifesto, so they can easily scan it on their phone and read it whenever they get an opportunity. Your message has been received, easier than ever before.
Foursquare – This one is easy. Foursquare allows you to check-in and leave tips. So, now you can let all your friends know which millionaire’s house you’re protesting out in front of and leave tips for cool and hard-hitting signs. It also allows you to see who else is out there, so now it becomes an instant networking tool. In addition to fighting against the 1%, you can share ideas and information with your fellow protestors that might help you find new job opportunities. And for those suffering long-term unemployment, meeting people in a similar boat who are looking to work together to pull everyone out of the horrible affects of the economic crisis might be the most beneficial aspect of the protests.
Tumblr – This site does it all. It allows you to post tweets, full blogs, quotes, pictures and video. Tumblr has been an amazing website to get your message across to the masses and the app allows you to do it from wherever you are. Organize your next gathering, post some interesting signs you have seen along the protest – one Tumblr page even has a bunch of messages from the 99% explaining why they are protesting. I think the best part of Tumblr is the ability to post videos as the protest is going on.
There you have it – your virtual Swiss Army Knife of apps you can use to keep the movement…umm…moving. Good luck.
--Jon Minners, Vault.com
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