Author: Allison Fine
A new and empowering way of looking at and organizing social change!
How can we move from serving soup until our elbows ache to solving chronic social ills like hunger or
homelessness? How can we break the disastrous cycle of low expectations that leads to chronic social
The answers to these questions lie within Momentum, a fresh, zestful way of thinking about and
organizing social change work. Today's digital tools--including but not limited to e-mail, the Web, cell
phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), even iPods--promote interactivity and connectedness. But as
Momentum shows, these new social media tools are important not for their wizardry but because they
connect us to one another in inexpensive, accessible, and massively scalable ways.
"...a fresh, zestful way of thinking about and organizing social change work."
Thoughtful and thought provoking, which addresses technology strategies, relationships, and
organizational change within the nonprofit sector. Far from a technical manual, it raises compelling
issues that deserve consideration by all nonprofit organizations.
Fine (founder, Innovation Network, Inc.), a New York social entrepreneur, writes on the way new social
media-the Internet, cell phones, digital tools-allow activists to create new groupings of self-directed and
self-responsible progressives. She believes that in this new connected era of the Internet, activist
networks trump hierarchy, and she touches on how social media have already facilitated progressive
actions. She points out the need for activists and progressive organizations to harness the new
technologies while genuinely listening to those engaged in the new social media. She also ponders the
future of activism in a connected age. This work contains some practical-and even inspiring-advice but is
really a meditation on the interaction between technology and traditional activism. Most useful in
academic and large public libraries.
Fine outlines strategies for "connected activism" in this idealistic, lucidly written account about using the
Internet to build up networks among activists who can pool information and other resources to help create
lasting solutions that address the roots of social problems. Citing organizations such as the advocacy
group MoveOn.org and MeetUp.com, which promotes off-line gatherings like those that propelled the
Dean for President campaign, Fine emphasizes a mind-set of self-determination among citizens and two-
way rather than top-down communication from organizations. She takes a cue from the 1999 "Cluetrain
Manifesto," aimed at corporations that were out of touch with consumers, translating its promotion of
digital communication to the activist sphere. Some of her rhetoric seems hyperbolic, as when she
suggests that online activism provides a neutral playing field in which women can advance their causes
without getting dismissed because of their gender, and she pushes hard on the readiness of "plugged-in"
Generation Y to change the world. On the whole, though, she provides activists with effective guidelines
for streamlining the pursuit of social change through instant messaging, blogs, chat rooms and