Scooter Reflections on Social Media #4

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

This morning on the way to work, I was reflecting on the incredibly successful National Equality March that happened a couple of weeks ago – and which I observed from friends’ posts online and on TV.? This was a march organized quickly with very little money. It apparently took much less money and much less time than previous marches have required thanks to the use of social media.? It was organized through social media organizing by groups like Stonewall 2.0 – using all the latest approaches to organizing – and counts were that about 200,000 people showed up, most of them young and energized and calling for equality at a Federal level, calling for Obama to make good on his promises to the LGBTQ community.

There are some great videos (friends reported that there were a HUGE number of flipcams at the march – and a look at youtube proves that to be true – as well as large numbers of slideshows put to music). So not only was the organizing done online, but the march itself went viral right away.

At the same time, we still have a lot to learn about social media organizing.? Jarrett Barrios and Rashad Robinson wrote an article in the Advocate congratulating the organizers on their great work, describing the different form of organizing that was used and calling out some of the learning that’s happened – and is still to happen.? First is that 2.0 organizing doesn’t go to organizations and ask them to organize their constituents, but is more “horizontal” -? spread through networks – and so happens much more quickly.? The second lesson they described was that this form of organizing, while it gathered huge numbers of young people, brought together what they describe as a largely white crowd. So the lesson seems to be that the demographics will represent the networks engaged.

I was reflecting on this on my way into work this morning – and thinking about a conversation I had at the 2009 Web of Change with Latoya Peterson of Racialicious about research she’s doing on the ways that social media is being created with the bias of the creator, so that without intentionality around inclusion, the 2.0 version of organizing will be creating the same racial and other exclusion that the 1.0 version had.

So I started wondering, once again, about what people know about that’s being done to challenge this new form of exclusion.? Anything you’re hearing that’s actively working toward making this change?

No Comments

  • Curtis says:

    A good question for our friends at NetCentric Campaigns!

  • Linda says:

    Yes – and this was also a topic at the Web of Change, where there was a fair amount of talk about this tendency for 2.0 organizing to recreate divides around exclusion. I want to learn more – and would love to hear more about others’ experiences!

    I’ve also gotten a fair number of emails from folks who were at the March who were intrigued – and said that their experience was there this march was “more diverse” than the 1987 and 1990 Marches. Absolutely could be – and it feels very important to be using a racial equity lens (as well as other lenses) as we keep working to improve organizing – online, face-to-face or other.

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