Saturday, September 19, 2009

READING: Mobilizing Generation 2.0 (steal this strategy)

Ben Rigby's Mobilizing Generation 2.0 is a comprehensive how-to written for a new kind of organization and a new kind of a citizen.

The book covers pushing messages and narratives online, organizing and convening publics in virtual space, and wielding an integrated set of communication tools in the name of social change.

As I read the book, it registered like a 21st century version of Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book for geeks (minus the illegality & political radicalism): a practical handbook focused on changing society and democratizing discourse.

Hoffman, an activist and organizer of sorts, understood the limitations of the media landscape of his generation:
To talk of true freedom of the press, we must talk of the availability of the channels of communication that are designed to reach the entire population, or at least that segment of the population that might participate in such a dialogue. Freedom of the press belongs to those that own the distribution system. Perhaps that has always been the case, but in a mass society where nearly everyone is instantaneously plugged into a variety of national communications systems, wide-spread dissemination of the information is the crux of the matter.
Mobilizing Generation 2.0 effectively maps a communications landscape that Hoffman didn't live to see.

We now have 'channels of communication' with the potential of reaching the entire population...

Rigby charts the shifting ground between a paradigm of broadcast and control and the emerging paradigm of conversation and engagement.

He also speaks to some of the old psychologies still at work and the difficulties of dealing with busy people and organizations with tight budgets.

So while the tools have changed and we're living in a dramatically different world, it is still unwritten how exactly the tools will change us and how they will change society.

Reading Rigby's book however, it makes you realize the extent a small group of people can really make a difference if they're organized, strategic, and understand both the logic of tools and what motivates people to participate.


Notable quotes:

"Blogging purists will say that operating a successful blog necessitates shifting the very structure of your organization - making it more open" (Rigby, p. 43)

"Sustainable advantage in Web 2.0 is not about maintaining control; it's about delivering value to a community over time" (Rigby, p. 45).

"To be effective in this environment, you have to behave more like an organizer and less like a marketer" (Rigby, p. 83).

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