Community Blog

In the coming months, we will be aggregating some of the best posts from North America’s social tech leaders.

Ignite and Short Form Story Telling

This year I have the honor to coordinate the Ignite event on Thursday night at the Web Of Change. If you've not yet experienced Ignite, let me take a moment to explain the format: each speaker has 5 minutes to present a talk consisting of 20 slides timed to auto advance every 15 seconds. The talk is usually presented without notes. Ignite events happen in hundreds of cities around the world and at conferences. Ignite topics are interesting, fun, quirky. The motto is "Enlighten us, but make it quick."

Inside Influence: Women, Power and Organizing

Sabrina Hersi Issa

In 1987, three bold, ambitious women in California wanted to create a better way to support human rights activists around the world.  In 1992, a small campaign snowballed from a staff of one single woman into a global movement responsible for a new paradigm for human security. In 1929, twenty-six women pilots met in an empty airplane hangar in Long Island for a discussion on their shared love of flying.

Innovations in Base Building

Marianne Manilov

We sit at a turning point. Traditional membership platforms, including online membership platforms used with great success by organizations such as and, are beginning to display some significant limitations. Allegations of the weaknesses of membership engagement which rely on “clicktivism” are nothing new for the non profit sector, and some organizations have simply shrugged these off as they continue to enjoy high campaign success rates and an exponentially growing online membership.

The Revolution Will be Mobilized

For the last decade, North American based political activism was energized by the rise of citizen media. Political blogs and Meetups helped make Howard Dean a contender for the Democratic nomination. Social media, email, and microblogging shaped political conversations during Barack Obama’s historic run for President. While mobile tools played a supporting role to the campaigns and social platforms behind these movements, we’re only beginning to see mobile become a central force for political activism and self-expression.

New Political Paradigm?

Micah Sifry

Is there a new political philosophy emerging from how we are doing things like open source software, Wikipedia, Kickstarter, peer-to-peer networking, sharing more and consuming less? Can "peer progressivism" get us past the stale debate between "big government" and "small government"? Should we replace the "welfare state" with the "partner state"?

Why Cross-Movement Organizing Is So Critical

For nearly 20 years, I've identified myself as an agent of social change. The way I've used that agency shifts course every two years or so, and in the not so distant past, I finally decided to embrace what I'd been identifying as frenetic issue hopping and reclaim it as a seriously effective organizing strategy.

Contact Information vs. Commitment: Building Power Through Membership

 This past April, there was a primary election in Illinois that featured a former MoveOn staffer, Ilya Sheyman, running against a conservative Democrat. MoveOn had 15,000 members in the district out of a total of 30,000 Democratic primary voters. And Ilya lost, badly.

Moms and Power

Sarah Francis

Let me start out by sharing a little secret about my job: One of the best things about bringing forward the voices of women, and moms in particular, is that it gives you the power to open the door of almost any elected official’s office (I mean, really: who says they’re anti-mom?). 

Towards a taxonomy for campaigns

If social change campaigners are going to make the shift towards being, in Steve Andersen's words, "scientists for change"--that is, that we learn by creating hypothesis, performing experiments and collecting data on the results--then one thing we need as is some simple shared language for accurately describing the different types of campaigns that we are working on.  Everybody knows, for example, that a political campaign is different from an advocacy campaign, and that a MoveOn campaign is different from

Investing in Web of Change

Aaron Welch

Web of Change is supported by more than a dozen generous sponsors that are helping to build the institution, share its learning, and make the annual gathering accessible to leaders from around the world. Aaron Welch of Advomatic explains why Web of Change is a good investment, both personally and professionally:

Making Change

Favianna Rodriguez in Process Magazine

This community brings smarts, wit, and soul to the hard work of changing the world. Check it out: 

Interview with a Web of Change first-timer

I was introduced to Yee Won Chong by Agenda Anchor Karen Uffelman, who shared that the journey to Web of Change 2012 will be Yee Won’s first international trip since becoming a U.S. citizen. Yee Won has lived in this country since 1996, and has been working in social justice for more than a decade, most recently managing communications and development at Western States Center. We couldn’t think of a better way to christen the new passport and bring some great ideas and relationships back to the Center!

Growing the Web of Change

We Are Americans

Web of Changers are truly a force to be reckoned with! Here's a taste of what the community has been up to this month:

Fission's Cheryl Contee talked at Personal Democracy Forum about the need to bridge the digital divide, reminding us that "true power comes from building new power."

Thoughts from a Web of Change veteran

Darren Barefoot

Some might describe Web of Change as a journey. Or a trip. Not Darren Barefoot, despite the fact that he’ll travel 5,000 miles to reach Hollyhock this September. Woo woo is not his style. He coexists comfortably with the more kumbaya aspects of the event, focusing instead on the content: cutting edge and relevant. And the people: leaders and changemakers eager to exchange ideas.

Introducing Web of Change’s New Network Curator, Phil Klein

Phil Klein, network curator for Web of Change

Anyone that has been to Web of Change can attest to its alchemy. It’s a rare event designed to honor the wisdom of the group rather than exalting a panel of experts. And the community never disappoints--the richness of ideas and experiences they bring to the table is both humbling and inspiring.

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