Monday, October 11, 2010

Activism and the Social Media Revolution: What does it mean for us?

The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960. “Social networks are particularly effective at increasing motivation,” Aaker and Smith write. But that’s not true. Social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.
The New Yorker has published an article called "Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not be Tweeted" and it has me thinking about social-media based activism. I strongly recommend reading this article - it's the first article about social-media based activism I've read that actually understands the dynamics of social change, namely that meaningful social change is strategic and high risk. In other words, social change requires exactly what social networking, by nature, cannot provide. I don't agree with everything this article says, but it has me thinking. Social networking is a tool and I think it's easy to lose sight of what that tool does well.

No comments: