The modern protester also expects an immediate response, thanks in part to technology, said Gabriella Coleman, a New York University professor of media, culture and communication who has studied some of the groups affiliated with the protest.
"We are in a cultural moment where people think the dictator will topple tomorrow, after four days of protests, and also the media is going to jump to pay attention," Coleman said.
There has been a growing swell of coverage in mainstream media, but there has been loud complaining the cause hasn't been championed fast enough — or in the way protesters want.
Newspapers, The Associated Press and television stations have covered the protests, and editorials have both poked fun and lauded the effort downtown. National Public Radio, which hasn't aired stories, has fielded angry communiques demanding coverage.
"The recent protests on Wall Street did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective," Dick Meyer, executive editor for news, explained on NPR's website.
But observers say the approach can be difficult for media — and the average person — to digest.
"You should have a clear and convincing message, and know who is going to deliver it," said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a longtime civil rights activist who has participated in protests for decades. "One of the reasons to get attention is to deliver the message."