What I propose is that the connection between protesting and social media is a rather different one: what we are looking at in the Occupy movement is a protest movement that can take a position of legitimacy by engaging in practice that mirrors the now dominant notions of "work".
Prior to the internet, protest consisted of congregating dissidents who inevitably could be portrayed as marginal hippies: their clothes are dirty, their pamphlets are ugly and their methods for gaining attention are intrusive. The "work" of protest thereby would engage in seeking and stretching scant resources and media channels by stealth and force. This could be contrasted with traditional work practices at the time which involved doing "work" that is concrete, materially productive and "actually makes a difference".
Now this has changed. Western economies are nearly wholly in the business of selling lifestyle, creating spectacle and capitalising on social networks. In other words, marketing. And most interestingly, the channels for such marketing has become homogeneous - law firms accountants and marketers spend time building their business on facebook and twitter. All of a sudden what was once the same ragtag bunch of hippies can now be presented alongside "legitimate" business on both the plane of spectacle (they look the same) and practice.
Hence, I am looking at the Occupy Melbourne Facebook page and their feed is just as slick as any other, it is full of videos and considered opinion articles. They are engaged in full time work of self promotion that can now not be dismissed as an illegitimate practice. Their "work" now consists of exactly the same productive process as any other western business practice.
In this context I would suggest that the mere fact that protesters and their adversaries play off through the same media channels in itself is the cause for the resurgence in protest and that the similarity in work practice provides them with necessary legitimacy.