The Occupy Wall Street API

Crowds at the OWS Day of Action, November 17, 2011, in New York City. © C.S. Muncy/

You'll want to read this essay on OWS as API by Atlantic senior editor Alexis Madrigal—and then you'll want to share it with friends who don't totally get OWS yet:

The most fascinating thing about Occupy Wall Street is the way that the protests have spread from Zuccotti Park to real and virtual spaces across the globe. Metastatic, the protests have an organizational coherence that's surprising for a movement with few actual leaders and almost no official institutions.

Much of that can be traced to how Occupy Wall Street has functioned in catalyzing other protests. Local organizers can choose from the menu of options modeled in Zuccotti, and adapt them for local use. Occupy Wall Street was designed to be mined and recombined, not simply copied.

This idea crystallized for me yesterday when Jonathan Glick, a long-time digital journalist, tweeted, "I think #OWS was working better as an API than a destination site anyway." If you get the idea, go ahead and skip ahead to the documentation below. If you don't get, let me explain why it might be the most useful way of thinking about #Occupy.

Read the rest. Alexis is on Twitter and G+.