October 19, 2011

Developers Create Digital Tools for Occupy Wall Street Protestors


What happens when a group of disgruntled American protestors and a group of disgruntled programmers unite?

We may be about to find out.

According to Mashable, programmers with a certain flair for digital protest gathered in three cities this weekend in a kind of workshop to create computer- and Web-based tools for Occupy Wall Street protestors. Several of the tools that were created have been made available to protestors.

"I was waiting to see how I should be involved," Jake Levitas, who maintains a design library of placards and other materials for the Occupy Wall Street movement and who attended the San Francisco hackathon, told Mashable. "In the last week, I thought, 'I know I'm going to dedicate a lot of time to this movement. I don't know how, but I know I want to be involved.'"

Another developer, Mark Belinsky, works on the opposite coast from Levitas. Belinsky, who participated in the New York City hackathon, has altered a platform he developed for protestors in Egypt earlier this year into a tool for helping Occupy Wall Street protestors better define and communicate their goals.

"It kind of struck me, of course we can use it here, because the media keeps asking what the protesters want," Belinsky told Mashable.

Belinsky's tool, OccupyVotes, asks participants to choose goals from a pre-set list. People are also free to add new ideas. The goal is to bring a little unity to what is largely a decentralized movement driven by viral social networking.


Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves