Archive for Reviews

CauseWired on the Beeb

BBC blogger Bill Thompson included CauseWired in his election night post last week, and his point about over-hyping the “first real Internet election” is a very good one. After, ask yourself what the candidates spent the most money on. Answer: television advertising, with staffing a distant second. Writes Thompson:

If anything, the election has shown that a campaign cannot do without the internet now, but the network has added to the range of options for reaching out, perhaps encouraging more conversation and interaction but not yet displacing the more traditional forms of engagement with voters.

It’s likely to be the same in the US in 2012, or here when Gordon Brown finally decides to go to the country.

In other worlds, old politics is still potent – though online organizing was like the super-charger on the old straight eight engine:

As long as television and newspapers survive the political process will use them for what they do best, reaching large numbers of people with the same message at the same time.

And the multitudinous forms of online interaction will find their niches too, whether it’s the fake intimacy of tweets from the candidate, the easy activism of a Facebook cause or the angry commitment of bloggers.

And Thompson, who labels me (correctly!) an “old-time Internet commentator,” works in a critique of CauseWired, perhaps over-stating just slightly my love affair with free market solutions (Republican buddies of mine might chuckle).

It documents the outpouring of online support for the people of New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina through the campaign to obtain justice for Mukhtaran Bibi in Pakistan, via Barack Obama’s internet fundraising efforts.

It’s a fascinating read, not least because the principles he outlines for effective online organising are based on his own experiences.

“Small but well-connected can be more effective than huge and widely disbursed”, for example, is something many online community organisers could benefit from realising, as is the call to “invest in conversations.”


CauseWired: The First Review

A quick note of thanks to Steve MacLaughlin and his Connections blog over at Blackbaud for posting (a very positive) first-ever review of CauseWired. You never know what the reaction’s going to be after months of writing, so it’s gratifying to read an in-depth review of the book that covers so many bases (millennials, politics, social networks, infrastructure etc.) while also getting the big picture. Writes Steve:

To understand the context for wired causes, Tom Watson recounts his own personal journey through the many technological twists and turns he has witnessed. He wants the reader to understand why these changes in media and technology are transforming the “underlying human impulse to help others” and how to think about where this is all going in the future.

The book is pretty personal in certain parts, and the reason is simple: you can’t write about social network as a detached observer. It’s like writing about the principles of swimming without going in the water.

Please note: we still have some review copies left to send to any blogger or writer who wants one, but they’re going pretty fast. Drop to a note to Andy Wheeler at Wiley – – with your name, site, and snail mail address for your copy. And I look forward to your review and the ongoing dialogue.