The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism

I spotted this over at WorldChanging a couple days ago – an interesting article by Ethan Zuckerman, based on a presentation he recently gave at ETech. It's long, but this first part summed up the phenomenon of user-generated content, and why it matters, nicely. This is an evo/revolution of the web that no one is denying anymore.

Web 1.0 was invented to allow physicists to share research papers.

Web 2.0 was created to allow people to share pictures of cute cats.

I had a front-row seat for this transition, working with Tripod. We sincerely believed that the purpose of the web was to give college graduates helpful information about renting apartments, applying for jobs and investing their money. Our users rapidly told us that what the web was really about was publishing their own information… which left us with the difficult challenge of figuring out how to make money off of people’s collections of cat pictures.

User-generated content, on average, is a lot less interesting than professional content. But there are a lot more people creating their own content for fun than those doing so for a living, and in aggregate, that content is at least as interesting.

Based on my Tripod experience, I’d offer the hypothesis that any sufficiently advanced read/write technology will get used for two purposes: pornography and activism. Porn is a weak test for the success of participatory media - it’s like tapping a mike and asking, “Is it on?” If you’re not getting porn in your system, it doesn’t work. Activism is a stronger test - if activists are using your tools, it’s a pretty good indication that your tools are useful and usable.

It's also a good summation of one of the major themes at our upcoming Social Tech Training. How do we harness this movement in service of social change? What are the opportunities to engage our constituents in new ways?


Add Your Comment
harga mesin cuci untuk bisnis laundry's picture


Puji syukur akhirnya dapat berjumpa dengan anda disini. Selamat belajar dan bekerja untuk anda semua yang hadir di forum ini. semoga selalu sukses dan menjadi lebih baik.

Anonymous's picture

Great website here, really

Great website here, really useful and interesting information. Thanks a lot for all your efforts, and please keep the great work up!
Tips Cepat Hamil - yamaha r15 dan yamaha r25 motor sport racing dan kencang - camry mobil hybrid terbaik indonesia - asus zenfone smartphone android terbaik - cipto junaedy

romo's picture

This is a terrific article,

This is a terrific article, and I would like to read more article if you have any. crystal x I am sure that this article are going to get you a lot of fans. Thanks for sharing with us.
cara pemakaian crystal x yang benar
distributor crystal x asli nasa

sxdsw's picture


It is very purposeful files, your model actuality hoagie is really far too outstanding it's very useful write-up my spouse and i favor this particular. Nonetheless we have been wanting different things files in the blog site.
statement of purpose sample

Anonymous's picture

nice info sob.... Kalong

ucapan untuk idul fitri 1435H 2014's picture

Thank you for an additional great article.

Your post will be rather good and I'm sure some will find it interesting because it's about a topic that's as widely discussed as others. Some may even find it useful.Thanks so much for your post.

jasa pembuatan skripsi's picture

Thank you for an additional great article.

Thank you for an additional great article. Exactly where else could anyone get that type of facts in this kind of a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m to the appear for such info.

lidya's picture

Good one. Very nice work.

Good one. Very nice work. You've not exaggerated anything too much, you've kept it simple. It is good to see that. I hope your next articles will also be compromising of the same awesome quality as this article.
I am not habituate to reply a comment on blogs but this blog caught my attention and I am compelled to write a comment here to express my gratitude to you. I would like to appreciate for this awesome work
gunakan moreskin asli pt.nasa untuk merawat wajah dan ikuti penggunaan whitening cream moreskin yang benar sehingga diperoleh hasil maksimal Distributor crystal x asli PT.Natural Nusantara (nasa)

Anonymio's picture


What we have written that is best and meaningful that we should read....
Buy Backlinks |
Buy High PageRank BackLinks

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • next ›
  • last »

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Platinum Sponsors Salesforce Foundation Hollyhock

Gold Sponsors

Salsa Labs

Silver Sponsors

Care2 Wire Media Blue State Digital Agentic Firefly Partners Beaconfire

Bronze Sponsors

Advomatic Crowdtangle JacksonRiver Engaging Networks Sea Change Strategies ActionSprout Fission Strategy Organizer

supporting sponsors

Gott Advertising Center for Community Change