"New Power and the Dynamics of Digital Change"

Civic Hall, Micah Sifry

If you are looking for a fresh and comprehensive analysis of how the Digital Age is transforming the civic arena, get yourself a copy of New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms’ new book, which is being released today.

What I found most valuable about New Power was the effort Heimans and Timms made to flesh out the backstory to many of the new power moments they use to enliven their larger argument. For example, they lucidly explain the origins and early organizing efforts of the group Invisible Children before they take us through its explosive flameout with the Kony 2012 video. I’ve long used that case as an example of how hard it is to convert momentary global fame into ongoing on-the-ground action in our age of hyper-distracting media, but in Heimans and Timms’ hands Invisible Children is first and foremost a great model for how to build what they call a “new power community.” That’s a place where three key factors are aligned: a platform owner who stewards the community’s brand and purpose, an engaged group of “super-participants” who do a lot of the heavy-lifting and gain meaning from being able to help shape the community, and a larger base of regular participants who come along for the ride.

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