Most people in philanthropy kind of get that the web and “social media” applications are having an important impact on the field, but they don’t really understand what it all means. If this describes you, you need to make it your New Year’s resolution to read the outstanding book CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World by Tom Watson.
Tom is a social media guru in the social sector. He is behind the excellent site OnPhilanthropy and has been writing about the Internet since at least the mid 1990’s. What makes CauseWired such an important book is that it is not a book about technology. It is a book about social change. It is a book about causes and how a new set of tools and tactics is changing the way that change happens. Tom doesn’t just explain what Facebook Causes “is” he explains why it matters.
Writing in an ultra-readable style, Tom draws you into the strange, evolving world of social media. Unlike so many people who write about technology, Tom doesn’t geek out on the high-tech elements of the web. What he realizes and what he communicates so well to his readers is the idea that the social web is just a new tool set for impacting the cause.
To regular readers of this blog, you’ll find many friends in the pages of CauseWired. Allan Benamer, Lucy Bernholz, Leslie Crutchfield, Phil Cubeta, Peter Deitz, Allison Fine, Beth Kanter, Heather McLeod Grant, Mario Marino, Ben Rattray, Marnie Webb and I all make guest appearances as the story unfolds. But the audience who I think most urgently needs to read CauseWired is those people who don’t read this blog or any other. For those people, the book tells the story of an exciting new world that is only just beginning to be told. And it tells the story not in the insider language that so much of Internet literature is told in, but in pure, plain English.
As a reader of this blog, I urge you to read CauseWired because you’ll really enjoy it. But I strongly urge you to buy a copy and give it someone who cares about philanthropy and social change but doesn’t understand the web.