Book Review: Causewired - Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World


Photo via Mooganic, and Causewired

You're here on TreeHugger, so you likely feel a connection between being online and being active in social change. That connection - using the internet as a means of doing good for the world - is quickly spreading thanks to the rise of social networking, free-to-use platforms for websites, and a broadening number of devices through which we can connect to the web.

Tom Watson has dubbed this as being "Causewired." In his new book by that title, Watson explores how this connection came to be, how it is currently being used, and how things are going to change to keep us linked up to the activism that is changing the world. What Causewired Means
According to Watson, causes are situations that motivate people to change the status quo, and being wired means being part of the people that create a vast network of networks. So being causewired is using web-based social connections to be an activist.

Using social networking gives participants a feeling of ownership of the causes they advocate. After all, if you have a logo of a cause on your Facebook profile, it's akin to carting a sign around town with you.

How We Came to Be Causewired
Pointing out Kiva, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Change and other organizations with significant social online clout, Watson describes our transformation into a truly user-created ability to change the world with digital technology.

One of the major shifting points, he writes, was blogger reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the lack of response on the part of our government. As blogs focused their outrage, people reacted, and from that - along with other similar reactions to global concerns - making changes in the world from your office chair became far more popular.

Other causes Watson points to include the desire for fast action for a cause that requires the ditching of paper, an entire generation of people living their lives online through their blogs, livejournals, and social networks, and the growth of peer-to-peer philanthropy.

Reading More Into Social Change
Watson's book makes for an interesting look into the way we run our online lives. It is pretty incredible to sit back and think about how much of our lives we live online and how that time has been and will ever more be used for major shifts in local, country-wide, and global activism. Who would have thought that your social network profile could be so empowering. But then again, that's exactly why we have Blog Action Day.

This book also gives excellent insight into how to use social online networking for your particular activist causes. So if you're looking to find out how to get your cause wired, you might want to start here.

More on Online Activism:
Bioneers 2008: How to Use Digital Media for Environmental Activism - Advice from the Experts
WISER Earth: User Created Directory of 'the Largest Movement on Earth'
6 Planet-Saving Facebook Applications
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Tags: Books | Human-Powered | Social Networking