Sunday, October 09, 2011

Just what is "the people's mic?"

Van Jones of "Rebuild the Dream" addressing the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly Friday evening. This video clip also came with an explanation of “the people’s mic” process used at these assemblies:
In case you’re wondering why everyone in the audience repeated everything Van says, they are using something called “the people’s mic” to ensure the audience hears every speaker at the General Assembly. There is no electric PA system in place because of noise concerns, and with the hustle and bustle of Manhattan all around, the noise would ordinarily drown out a speaker.

The speaker says a sentence or phrase, and those closest to him or her repeat it. The next closest repeat the first ring, spreading the speaker’s words out in concentric circles through the audience.

Because there’s such an intense focus on making sure that the speaker is heard, there’s little clapping or cheering during a speech. Instead, folks in the crowd raise their hands and wiggle their fingers to give a visual cue of their approval, and cross their arms firmly over their chest to show disapproval.

It’s an ingenious system that allows everyone to hear no matter how far they are from the speaker. The act of participation also keeps everyone’s focus on what is being said throughout the speech.

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