Home Quick Thoughts + Shares “Digital Activism Decoded”: It’s Good to Be 1st

If you search for “digital activism” at the largest book store in the world, Amazon, you’ll find only one title: Digital Activism Decoded. It’s the first book on the topic and we at the Meta-Activism Project are happy to bring it to you… in 3 ways:

  1. For the next 2 months we’ll publish sections of the book on our blog, like this one.
  2. Beginning June 1 we’ll offer a FREE download of the book on this site.
  3. On June 30 the paper version will be published, and you can pre-order now.

You can find out more about the book at www.meta-activism.org/book.

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3 replies to this post
  1. I find this whole “first” thing to be very disingenuous. Search on Amazon for hacktivism, cyberactivism, web activism, online activism, or even digital activism _without_ the quotes, and you’ll find a significant collection of books on digital activism, dating back more than a decade and drawing from a wide range of disciplines.

    If I were Martha McCaughey, Tim Jordan, or any of these other authors, I’d be insulted by the “first” claim, and I hope your authors did a better job researching the existing literature than your marketing team has, and that they are more honest and humble in their writing.

  2. …and just to intercept the obvious counter-argument – yes, I’ve read the excerpt on “Why the term ‘digital activism’?” and would simply say that the coining of a new term does not make the book the first on its topic… it just makes it the first book in a particular namespace, and the first to approach a set of topics using a particular framework that you are equating to that namespace. The content of this new book is still intimately related to and dependent upon these prior works and alternative terms, and implying that this new book is the first of its kind is a silly gimmick. Let it stand on the quality of its scholarship.

  3. Your problem with the positioning of the book as the 1st book on digital activism is valid and is something I considered myself when deciding how to market it. You are right that there are many other books about digital technology and activism, several of which are explicitly cited in our book. You are also right that to a great extent this is about “namespace”: previous books have referred to this phenomena by other names: “hacktivism, cyberactivism, web activism, online activism, or even digital activism _without_ the quotes” – in the end, it’s about who has the luck of choosing the term that sticks!

    However, we have not, as you inferred “coined a new term” (even though I wish I had). The term “digital activism” is in wide use and this is indeed the first book to address the digital technology + activism phenomenon in these terms. I invite you to read the book – I’d be glad to provide you with a digital copy – and determine whether the book addresses the field in a new way. I believe it does.

    Mary Joyce
    Editor, “Digital Activism Decoded”

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