Post Tagged with: "digital advocacy"

Digital Advocacy’s “Weak Ties” Should Not Be Underestimated

Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling Canadian writer for the New Yorker, recently turned his attention to the use of Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet for digital advocacy.  Gladwell dismissed claims that digital advocacy has been an effective tool, lamenting that “people have forgotten what advocacy is about.”  He suggested that effective advocacy that leads to broad social or political change requires “strong ties” among people who are closely connected, committed to the cause, and well organized.  When Gladwell examined digital advocacy initiatives he found precisely the opposite – weak ties between people with minimal commitment and no organizational structure.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version)  notes the Gladwell article was published two days after Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a handful of other countries concluded negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  Although some issues must still be sorted out, the countries have agreed on a broad framework and announced that no further negotiation rounds are planned.

With the draft agreement now public, it is apparent that one of the biggest stories over the three-year negotiation was the willingness of the U.S. to compromise on the rules associated with the Internet.  When it first proposed the Internet chapter, the U.S. demanded new liability requirements for Internet providers (including the possibility of terminating subscriber access based on multiple allegations of infringement) as well as tough digital lock rules that went far beyond current international treaty requirements.  

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October 18, 2010 18 comments Columns

Digital Advocacy’s “Weak Ties” Should Not Be Underestimated

Appeared in the Toronto Star on October 17, 2010 as Digital Advocacy’s “Weak Ties” Should Not Be Underestimated Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling Canadian writer for the New Yorker, recently turned his attention to the use of Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet for digital advocacy.  Gladwell dismissed claims that digital advocacy […]

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October 18, 2010 1 comment Columns Archive

The Anti-Proroguing Rallies By the Numbers

David Akin does a nice job of tallying up the numbers from this weekend's Facebook-inspired anti-proroguing rallies.  I wrote about the impact of the Facebook group and digital advocacy last week.

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January 25, 2010 2 comments Must Reads

Tracking Prorogation Online Activities

The Infoscape Research Lab has posted some interesting charts on online prorogation activities, including breaking participation down by political affiliation and platform.

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January 19, 2010 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Critics Misjudged Power of Digital Advocacy

With the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament Facebook group now over 200,000 members, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) looks at how its success provides the clearest indicator yet of how poorly the Canadian political community understands social media and digital advocacy.

When the Prime Minister announced he was proroguing parliament in the midst of the holiday season, political commentators applauded the tactic, confident that few Canadians would notice or care.  In less than three weeks, Christopher White, a university student from Alberta, proved the experts wrong, building the largest Facebook group in the country, one that's the focal point for national discussion and voter discontent.  

As the group began to take flight, it was surprising to see political leaders and analysts blithely dismiss the relevance of Facebook advocacy. Editorials pointed to other large groups to demonstrate the group's irrelevance, noting that joining a Facebook group was too easy – just click to join – to mean much of anything.

This represents a shocking underestimation of the power of digital advocacy, which today is an integral part of virtually every political or business advocacy campaign.

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January 18, 2010 23 comments Columns