Video: A Brief Lesson on Using the Occupy Wall Street Human Microphone


Perhaps the most ironic element of the Occupy Wall Street protests — organized almost entirely via the Internet — is the very analog way that immediate information is disseminated on the ground. Rather than using an agreed-upon Twitter hashtag, bullhorn, or sound system (the latter two require permits from the city) the group is using a “human microphone” technique: simply shouting back the words of the speaker so the rest of the group can hear. As you might expect, the message can get a bit garbled, and basic sentences (AND BASIC SENTENCES!) can take three times as long (CAN TAKE THREE TIMES AS LONG!) to complete (TO COMPLETE!). And forget about clearly explaining complex economic arguments to the crowd. We’re looking at you, Joseph Stiglitz. Also, as Michael Moore learned, jokes don’t really travel well over the 500-person shouting telephone game. Watch our video for a quick primer on the human microphone that’s repeated daily down in the crowds. Also, jazz hands!