NXNEi activism slideshare #1

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Part one of the presentation I will be giving at Toronto's NXNEi on 17 June 2011

Part one of the presentation I will be giving at Toronto's NXNEi on 17 June 2011

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  • Why I suggested this topic:Felt an obligation to say something about the web activism deniers who suggest that social web activism is somehow of a lesser order – less effective in bringing about change -- than other forms of democratic action or protest. Some people maybe think that getting drunk at a political convention, for example, is a better approximation of democratic action than re-tweeting a picture of security forces brutality.With all humility, I also have a background which gives me a unique perspective on the the social web capacity as an organizer of democratic action and as a means of expressing a point of view . . . In effect acting as what I think is fair to call a new demos. I’ll explain that background in a few seconds. . . . But let’s remember something about protests and organized action . . . Next slide
  • People do sometimes have the right to be angry . . . Whether that is about global warming, human rights abuses, poverty, sexual assault, financial malfeasance in our banking sector, or the lies that pepper the commitments of our politicians . . . And we should not be silent about them . . . Next slide)
  • And democracy sometimes requires that we do something about them . . . Which gets to the part about my not a all special experience Left-wing activist, member of a group called Red Morning which modeled itself on WeathermenOrganized a demonstration . . . And ended up spending a month in the Don JailI then went on to be a trade unionist . . . None of which his meant to be self-aggrandizing, only to make the point that I have been an organizer and have been on the streets
  • What I can say from that experience is that I would rather be an activist today, than 30 years ago because the means for activism and the potential for its impact are of a magnitude of order or difference today . . . If done right . . . And there are many doing it right
  • In fact, it is because of my history and m understanding of the dynamics of the social web, that I can say . . . Slacktivism is not the problem
  • Even the weak ties that a Gladwell or others talk about can become strong ties . . . Strong enough to create a revultion.Following Greenpeace on Twitter, or liking it on Facebook might be a “weak tie” as Malcom Gladwell puts it, but it’s a tie nonetheless, and every little bit helps.Weak ties can become stronger.
  • I first got involved with Greenpeace reading a blog entry in passing. Then I wrote a comment. Then I joined an online forum, and became a volunteer in a local group, collecting signatures in the street, and convincing people in the street to give us the five eurocents that were left in their wallets. I became an online volunteer for Greenpeace International, then got an internship, and then got a job.http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/an-answer-to-critics-of-online-activism/blog/26559
  • In fact, there are a number of studies that all show that using the Internet for campaigns does not have a negative effect on real-life participation. Other studies go further and show how effective the Internet is at mobilizing the young into “off-line forms of political participation.”


  • 1. Forget What You’ve Heard About Slacktivism
    June 17, 2011
  • 2. People Sometimes Have the Right to be Angry
  • 3. And They Have Always Tried to Do Something About It
  • 4. Hugh Macleod . . . http://www.gapingvoid.com/
  • 5. Slacktivism is not the problem Morozov/Gladwell think
  • 6. Weak ties can become strong ties
    Reading a blog entry
    Write a comment
    Join a forum
    Become a local volunteer
    Collect signatures on street
    Internship with advocacy group
    Job with advocacy group
  • 8. “Although it is not possible to determine a consistent impact of Internet campaigns on real–life decisions, there is no evidence of the substitution thesis. If anything, the Internet has a positive impact on off–line mobilization. Accordingly, there is little evidence to support the accusation of Internet campaigns being slacktivism.”
  • 9. Slacktivism is a consequence of weak organizers
  • 10. The obstacles that prevented sharing on a global scale are now gone. Social tools provide action by loosely structured groups, operating without managerial direction and outside the profit motive.
    --Clay Shirky
  • 11. Groups Assemble Differently
    BEFORE . . .
    People ‘gather’ (meeting, demonstration, party)
    Then they ‘share’ (exchange ideas)
    NOW . . .
    People ‘share’ (Facebook, Flickr, blog, IM)
    Then ‘gather’ (coalesce around dissatisfaction, complaint . . . party idea)
  • 12. Social Web . . . More Than Angry
  • 13. . . . And Not Just About Selling Stuff
  • 14. 14
    Democratic Participation Flow