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Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8444-1
240 pages
September 2006, Jossey-Bass
Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age (0787984442) cover image


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 failures?

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.

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Table of Contents

Foreword (Joan Blades).


Preface: The Promise of Connected Activism.


Part I: Connectedness in Action.

1. Celebrating Self-Determination: Developing a Mind-Set of Powerfulness.

2. Becoming a Connected Activist: Enhancing the Effectiveness of Social Media.

3. Beyond Bowling Alone: Leveraging Social Networks for Social Change.

4. All Aboard! Embracing the Leveling Effect of Social Media.

5. Embracing Authentic Conversations: Overcoming the Listening Deficit.

6. Powering the Edges: Shifting Power from the Inside Out.

7. Encouraging Individual Activism: Working Together to Optimize Your Efforts.

Part II: The Future of Social Change.

8. Peeking into the Digital Future: Balancing the Opportunities Ahead.

9. My Diet Starts Next Tuesday: Embracing a Recipe for Success Now.

10. Are We There Yet? Measuring Progress in New Ways.

11. The Future of Funding: Rethinking Philanthropy and Fundraising Using Social Media.

Conclusion: Moving Forward as a Connected Activist.

Resource A: Free Schuylkill River Uses CitizenSpeak to Expand Its Coalition (Jo Lee).

Resource B: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, Rick Levine).


The Author.


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Author Information

Allison H. Fine is a successful social entrepreneur and writer dedicated to helping grassroots organizations and activists implement and sustain social change efforts. Fine is a senior fellow at Demos, a network of action and ideas based in New York City. She is the founder of Innovation Network, Inc. (InnoNet), and the former CEO of E-Volve Foundation. Currently she serves on the board of directors of Just Vision. She lives on the banks of the Hudson River with her husband, Scott, and three sons, Jack, Zack, and Max.Join her interactive conversation on social change in the digital age at afine@afine.us.
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New to This Edition

Hot Topic, original approach:  Many people have written about the changes wrought by technology.  This is the first book to take technological changes in context with cultural changes to describe a new imperative for leadership. 

Connected, market savvy author:  In addition to traditional strategies, Fine is an expert in the latest viral marketing and techno-marketing techniques including podcasting, blogcasting, streaming video.

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"...a fresh, zestful way of thinking about and organizing social change work." (PublicNet.co.uk, October 9, 2008)

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. (Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 05/01/2008)

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. (Library Journal, November 15, 2006)

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 Blackberries. (PublishersWeekly.com, October 23, 2006)


"Momentum is a bold, engaging volume with Fine's unique and insightful approach to using 21st-century tools to organize and connect people. This easy-to-read guide offers fresh faces, new voices and cool tools for building strong, effective, and enduring social change networks."
—Diana Aviv, president and CEO, Independent Sector

"Momentum is a clear, timely roadmap for activists and funders.? Never has the need to change how we think about our work been greater. Momentum is a must-read for doers and funders serious about social change work."
—Pablo Eisenberg, senior fellow, Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University

"Those of us engaged in social change work know that change is coming fast, but changing how we work is happening slowly. We need to work differently and better, and Fine shows us how in fun and inspiring ways. If you are an activist, a funder, a volunteer, or a board member, or just plain care about your community and democracy, Momentum is the book for you!"
—Paul Shoemaker, director, Social Venture Partners, Seattle

"Momentum provides donors with a clear understanding of how to succeed in the new Connected Age. What felt like a blur of digital tools to me before now makes good sense, thanks to Fine's lively lexicon and funny stories. I've been waiting for a book like this, and here it is at last!"
—Michael Hirschhorn, president, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation

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Related Websites / Extra

A. Fine BlogRead the blog, get tips on how you can share information and stay connected, and follow Allison Fine as she spreads the word about Momentum.
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