How important is the Internet and social media to the Occupy Wall Street protests?
Early on, the internet and social media were very important to Occupy Wall St. However, I would argue that they are now less important and that the movement needs all forms of media much more than it needs the internet and social media specifically.
The internet and social media were vital to the formation of the OWS movement. Social media allowed people who would be interested in protesting to "meet" and to organize. This would have been much less possible in the days before social media.
However, now that OWS is on the national "radar screen" this sort of media is much less important and the mass media (some of which is, of course, distributed via internet) is much more important. OWS's main need now is to mobilize support among the general population as a whole. This can only be effectively done by getting its message out through the mass media because it is the mass media that can reach out beyond the small circle of relatively radical people who started to the movement.
The OWS movment needs support from average people all over the country. To reach these people, it needs the mass media. The social media and the internet were important for getting the movement started, but will not be sufficient to make the movement successful moving forward.