Young People For (is that name proper grammer?) is an interesting organization in the field of student activism, by which I mean they are well-funded and thus powerful.
They have an insightful breakdown of
who is in their network
The states they chose look random to me, other than perhaps they are going for larger states.
The good thing is that they are going for continuity - hopefully that will help campuses with turnover which is one of the main difficulties that student activists face.
Yesterday I read Activism Inc. I strongly recommend reading it. It's insightful and short. The thesis I got from it was that thousands of progressive-minded young people are joining canvassing operations, lasting an average of several days, and burning-out.
These young people could be forming the backbone of social movement organizations, however instead they burn out and find non-activist jobs (like being teachers).
The book argued that conservatives are succeeding in placing young people into conservative organizations, however the left is failing.
I'd be very interested to read a book on what the conservatives have done that works so well for them. I suspect part of the answer is that they may have larger sums of money that can create more organizations and better-paid positions (whereas canvassing jobs in particular, and other leftist jobs are generally lower-paid).
A very creative approach that I didn't know was possible.
A small version of our web calendar on your site (Hudson Valley, ActivistResource.org)
The advantage of this approach is that you can call an external php script with parameters and include it in your site. It's like a type of web service.
The fact that CampusProgress.org recently chose to feature a pro-militarism article about US volunteers joining the Israeli army fits with its moderate version of student activism.
They let almost anyone write. But to feature an article requires an editorial decision. And to not just advocate Zionism (and support for a racist religious sectarian state) but to also advocate for the use of military force, and even in the wake of the disasterous attacks on Lebanon and Gaza -- makes you really wonder what kind of "progress" they stand for?
CampusActivism.org recently achieved a Google PageRank of 7. The site had been at 6 for a couple years, with a brief period where it dipped to 5.
This is particularly significant as PageRank is a logarithmic scale with an estimated base of around 6. So having a PR of 7 is six times better than a 6. On the other hand it could just be a tiny improvement, an increase from 6.49 to 6.51 would show up as a move from 6 to 7.
I suspected that my PR of 6 was a high "6" and might one day reach 7. The website was increasing its traffic and the number of incoming links gradually, and its PR should grow accordingly.
Dot Organize just published a study of 400 social change organizations on how they use technology called:
Online Technology for Social Change: From Struggle to Strategy
Today I participated in an auction for the activism.org domain which ended with a final bid of $1300. Someone else won. In the last 5-10 minutes, it went from $500 to $1300. The auction was done at snapnames.com.
While online social networks are potentially useful for recruitment, they present a danger to activists by promoting bad strategy and ineffective forms of networking. By contrast a good social change network, such as Activism Network, will encourage strategic thinking and promote grassroots activism.
Good Uses for Online Social Networks
First, let us examine where online social networking ought to be most useful and see how it does.
I suspect online social networks are most useful for recruitment. This makes sense if they operate like off-line networks. It is clear from social movement research that the most critical factor to mobilize people to participate in social movements is a network (aka relational) tie to someone else involved. People are generally recruited by their friends or acquaintances. Even if you are recruited by a stranger, through additional participation in group events, one becomes acquainted with group members and this dramatically increases the likelihood of a cycle of continued participation.
ONE Northwest (an environmental tech group) has a blog called Movement As Network that advocates for an increased focus on networking (and a downplaying of organizational ego) if one wants to build social movements and be successful.
See their paper.
I think the Activism Network software is Network-Centric. We emphasize the network. There isn't any one organization that comes close to even being a tenth or a twentieth of the site's content. Instead the site includes over a thousand activist groups that belong to over a hundred networks. These groups (and people) are involved in hundreds of different campaigns.
Mother Jones did their
13th annual review of student activism
It's really hard to get a good sense of student activism as you really are looking at over 2000 universities (to say nothing of the 20,000+ other schools). So it's a tip of the iceberg situation. This time instead of trying to list the top ten activist schools, they went with a humour sample that is funny - but doesn't say so much about the harder movement building work that is going on.
They missed out on SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), partially because the SDS founding conference was after their deadline.