The limits of ‘new power’

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  • Published 20160119
  • ISBN: 978-1-925240-80-1
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IN THE PAST decade, using the internet to harness people’s passion and direct it in support of issues and causes has become an important part of civil society. And in that time the methods have evolved with the technology. What was once innovative – the email list, the online petition – is now passé. Social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram are the new chords of connectivity. Any non-government organisation worth its salt now has a social-media presence and an email petitioning tool, from Save the Children to The Nature Conservancy. You can even follow the Cancer Council on Twitter.

The tools may be new but activists are still trying to do that old-fashioned thing: change the world. The power of the technology has made that seem more tantalisingly possible than ever. It has spawned a whole new professional class of online campaigners and given new tools to more traditional organisers. And it has made possible a degree, and a scale, of co-operation and collaboration never seen before. In the ten years since the online campaigning organisation GetUp! started, much has changed in progressive activism.

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