There sure are some interesting Advent hashtags making the rounds! #OccupyAdvent is my favorite, though. I’ve been watching it the whole season, and they’ve kept a strong steady presence going pretty much the entire time. Very impressive.
#OccupyAdvent was born on Twitter. Really! It took life in one of the weekly Church Social Media (#CHSOCM) charts at the peak of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and explored the concept of how to use the same kind of energy of placing the “Holy Dollar” in its more proper secular context at the same time placing the period immediately preceding Christmas in is historic spiritual context.
Because the concept came from an existing community, it began with a substantial amount of power that many such initiatives don’t have immediately. It shows, it really really shows. I could spend days exploring #OccupyAdvent in social media, and only touch the tip of the iceberg. It could be a full time job exploring what they’ve done in less than two months. That is the power of a community that is committed to a shared mission and message. Let’s start with them on Twitter.
I first noticed them in my regular Twitter stream, rattled my brains a bit, and said, “I thought I saw a puddy-tat!? Uh, what was that?” I did a search for the hashtag. You’ll notice that this hashtag search has an enormous amount of variety in the voices speaking. It is also moving at a fairly high rate of speed. This is a hashtag that has taken on it’s own life. Many voices, speaking often, lots of retweets, lots of comments, some conversation, repeated themes and threads. All very dynamic. I also noticed in the stream of the search that the hashtag also has its own Twitter account. Sometimes when a hashtag group does that, the account is most a bot that captures and repeats tweets from the hashtag. Not this one. It is clearly and obviously a real person.
The #OccupyAdvent Twitter account points to the OccupyAdvent Facebook page.
The Facebook page looks a lot like the Twitter search stream, with many voices, fairly quick turnaround in the conversation, comments on comments. This is what engagement looks like. I’ve never seen this level of engagement so quickly on a new page unless it had to do with a timely and emerging crisis like the Japan Tsunami earlier this year.
The Facebook page had a post to the blog for #OccupyAdvent.
I must admit a special fondness for today’s blogpost there, the clever reference to a popular description of Santa Claus as actually originating in the Psalms. A powerful and insightful turn of a phrase. Nice also to see that the community includes graphic design and artistic skills. These two screenshots were taken a couple weeks apart, and you can see how the design has changed over time. The blog also does a nice job of including a description of their history, origins, the prime people behind the movement, and so forth.
The Facebook page also pointed to the QR code being used by the movement.
Not just any QR code, either, but one that again shows the creativity of the community by making the QR code look like an Advent candle. The movement has someone else who did a lovely blogpost providing ideas for ways to use the QR code.
If you take a look, pretty quickly you can see there are LOTS of people blogging about this in their own various online spaces. These range from the expected voices of the organizers to just regular folk, both ministers and parishioners, who believe in the movement or have something valid to contribute.
Did you notice that the last screenshot is of an article from the National Catholic Reporter?
Occupy Advent and the Vatican: A revolution of hope: http://ncronline.org/news/justice/occupy-advent-and-vatican-revolution-hope
That one actually isn’t about the OccupyAdvent movement, and seems to be unaware of the the movement, but expresses many similar points of view to what inspired the movement. He isn’t there only one either — there are many voices examining similarities of the Occupy movement and the original purposes of Advent.
If you do a web search for #OccupyAdvent, altogether and not as two separate words, you’ll see literally thousands of hits for this. If you accept it as two words you’ll find, of course, millions, but many of those will turn out to actually be unrelated.
Still, I’m pretty impressed for a new your movement to have this kind of activity so quickly. Lots of lessons to learn from watching the OccupyAdvent movement! I was delighted to find that someone had even made a Storify to try to tell the story behind OccupyAdvent.
I wonder what else I would find if I had the time to look. Very very impressive.