In addition to live-streaming their demonstrations and publishing a professional newspaper to document their efforts, they are also turning to Vibe, a free application that lets people post short messages anonymously to a microblog, similar to Twitter.
But unlike Twitter and most services on the Web these days, Vibe does not require users to create an account or log in to to read and share messages. It is still very small, but has recently started to grow.
Vibe was created by Hazem Sayed, a 53-year-old New York business consultant who has been working on mobile applications in his spare time for years. He recently helped release a service called AskLocal that lets people pose questions to one another in a specific location. He decided to build Vibe in May after observing a march in Manhattan and realizing that a similar service would be helpful for people who needed to quickly communicate with those directly around them.
Twitter, he felt, had too many users to do that efficiently.
“Instead of using hashtags to try and filter messages, you can use location to filter what you share and see,” he said.
Anonymous messages can be broadcast to others using the application within an area as narrow as 150 feet to as wide as 300 miles — or shared globally.
However, Mr. Sayed is quick to point out that messages are not encrypted or concealed with sophisticated software. “It is anonymous, but that’s not to say someone with access, a phone company or the police, isn’t listening in on what’s being posted,” he said. “We just don’t collect any information around the people who are posting or require them to give us their phone number.”
The application didn’t originally have a political focus, he said.
He said one of the first times it was used was at a screening of “The Social Network.”
But Mr. Sayed has fully embraced the role his tool is playing in the protests. He often appears at the various Wall Street protests with an iPad and a projector and projects the current messages flowing through the system on a sheet or wall.
The application is getting a lift, thanks to its popularity among the demonstrators who use it as a swift way to trade information and organize events. He says Vibe’s user base has swollen to about 12,000 from 1,000 in the last few week. Each day, there are roughly 1,000 messages posted through Vibe.
“It has taken off as a way for the people on the inside to connect to one another and let those on the outside see what’s going on,” he said.
Mr. Sayed said he hopes to ride the wave of Vibe’s successes to other large events and gatherings around the country, including South by Southwest in March, and see if he can further elevate the service. He plans to keep Vibe free for users but explore revenue-making possibilities such as advertising. He has decided to focus his efforts on developing applications full-time.
Vibe, he said, has the “potential for huge scale.”