Viral video spreads Occupy message beyond college campuses

As of press time, several conservative organizations on college campuses did not return eMails and voice messages left by eCampus News reporters.

“So many people have smart phones now, it’s becoming increasingly easy to document exactly what’s happening, and it has that viral effect,” he said. “And that has been at the center of the Occupy movement — bringing those visuals to a much larger audience on the internet. … [YouTube video] has definitely been a key component in gaining attention.”

Wong said what wasn’t in the YouTube video probably was as important as what was shown in the eight-minute clip.

Students encircling the human chain and the police officers dressed in riot gear and wielding pellet guns squelched a couple attempts to provoke the officers with denigrating chants, Wong said. Such a chant, he said, would have made the viral video far less effective in drawing public sympathy and support.

“Any type of reaction should be nonviolent – we made sure of that,” he said. “It speaks more to your character when we don’t use more radical or violent approaches. Students felt, symbolically, like it was a win.”

Internet videos like the one from UC Davis have drawn strong rebuke from students’ parents and university alums. A group known as Occupy Alumni has launched Facebook and Twitter accounts in recent days, and student activists believe excessive force publicized via viral video could trigger an alumni backlash.

“It spoke to the parents and alumni and other students that this is getting out of hand,” said Natalia Abrams, a University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) alum who has helped facilitate local Occupy Colleges groups. “I’m horrified that any of my alumni dollars were used in that way.”

Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park took footage of midnight police raids last week, but much of the video posted on the internet is shaky and largely unclear

Stewart said the clarity of the UC-Davis video made the clip all the more effective.

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