Riffing on Marty’s recent post about the ever-lower cost of advocacy group formation… it is true that it is cheaper than ever to start an advocacy organization. As Clay Shirky observed, that is the real power of the internet, it lowers the cost of finding like-minded people. However, I think the paradox is that as the cost of forming a group declines, more groups are formed, which actually tends to increase the cost of achieving social change campaign goals.
Why? So many organizations competing for limited dollars, limited talent, limited attention, press coverage, etc. This means you have to be better than ever to punch through the noise and achieve critical mass. Most of the rewards go to the top 1%. This is not about scarcity vs. abundance, it’s recognizing that public agendas can only have so many items on them at once.
Still sorting through the implications of this. I do think Marty is right that we need to come up with new approaches to dealing with this fragmentation.