Collective action, where a group acts as a whole, is even more complex than collaborative production, but here again new tools give life to new forms of action. This in turn challenges existing institutions, by eroding the institutional monopoly on large-scale coordination. ~ Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody
In Chapter six of Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky discusses collective action and how it has been enabled by technology. I thought of one of my favourite examples of this: In 2010 and 2011, I volunteered to help with a global initiative started by @amanda called Twestival. It was a global movement which culminated in a one-day event that brought people offline to support global and local causes. The event, involving more than 200 cities around the world, supported causes like clean water and education amongst hundreds of local charities. The planning, organization, and advocacy utilized social media tools to encourage collective action. (Twestival raised $1.75 million for over 275 causes in three years, which is incredible!)
With this example (and others like global crisis’ like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, etc.), it is pretty incredible how quickly people mobilize. Information flows quickly, people with like-minds assemble, and real action is executed. When it comes together, it is incredible. As Skirky says, while social tools don’t create collective action, they remove obstacles and enable them to take place.