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The Future of ChangeHow Technology Shapes Social Revolutions$
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Ray Brescia

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748110

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748110.001.0001

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Digital Organizing

Digital Organizing

(p.94) 5 Digital Organizing
The Future of Change

Ray Brescia

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses the current social innovation moment, looking at the potential impact of digital communications tools on organizing. Digital communications tools help build weak ties, decentralize communication and engagement, help communicate norms (both good and bad), strengthen the ability of the members of a network to coordinate their efforts, offer new modes of engagement, increase and amplify network effects, and facilitate effective crowdsourcing. In theory at least, one can see that these digital tools, and the capacities they create, likely can enhance the ability to create social capital and solve collective action problems. The chapter then analyzes the West Virginia teachers' strike of 2018, examining it in light of the capacities that new tools—like the Internet, social media, and mobile technologies—offer for building and strengthening movements. The West Virginia teachers found social media an efficient tool for organizing rallies, protests, and other activities throughout the state. Thus, one of the greatest strengths of digital tools seems to be their capacity to assist their users to coordinate action.

Keywords:   social innovation, digital communications, crowdsourcing, social capital, collective action, West Virginia teachers' strike, Internet, social media, mobile technologies, social movements

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