Many non-profit organizations use web-based tools like Meetup and Eventbrite in organizing their events, but are often lost when it comes to understanding basic online organizing principles. In fact, many organizations still think of these platforms (much like social media) as having "followers" rather than "event planning tools".
But thankfully, Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody written very early in the emergence of social media and online organizational tools, still has some great thinking - and insights - into the arena of online organizing. Written in easy-to-understand language, Shirky's book describes one of the key challenges of organizing, moving away from more formal structures (which can often have higher costs) to a more democratic, inclusive model. Shirky outlines how online platforms like Flickr and Meetup have reduced the cost of setting up formal organizations, allowing for more informal/casual networks of people to organize themselves along lines of interest.
Admittedly, given the nature of online networks in 2013, some of Here Comes Everybody sounds a bit dated....but that s a minor complaint. This is the go-to book for any person that wants to move beyond the "follower" way of thinking - in short, for many non-profits and social benefit agents, this is a definite must-read.
And as always, thanks for reading!