Around the Institute

Internet Blackout as Advocacy Strategy / Facebook Web / Evaluations for Social Justice

January 20, 2012

This past Wednesday, a number of hugely popular websites either closed shop for the day or altered their interface as a sign of protest against two controversial intellectual property bills before Congress. Wikipedia, for example, completely shut down its English-language site, urging users to contact their local representatives. And Google even started a petition against these bills. They’re disseminating information quickly and making it easy for folks to join the protest. Now that’s strategic advocacy.

Caught in the Facebook Web
Here at APEP, we think social media is the cat’s meow (or dog’s woof?). And so we find it useful to take a step back every so often to think about the psychology of social media users. Knowledge@Wharton’s latest on this issue, “Facebook Shunners: Is Resistance Futile?”, smartly points out the high personal investment involved. There’s no denying Facebook’s incredible reach; but given the hyper-speed of the web, it’s just much more difficult for advocates to grab a user’s attention—and hold on to it.

Evaluations with a Social Justice Twist
On January 24th from 9:30 to 10:30AM EST, a coalition of organizations including UNICEF, UN Women, and The Rockefeller Foundation, among others, will host a webinar titled “Evaluation for Social Justice,” the eighth entry in its webinar series on equity-focused evaluations. Professors Donna Mertens of Gallaudet University and Bagele Chilisa of the University of Botswana will headline the event. So come Tuesday, grab a hot cup of coffee, sit down and get ready to make evaluation a force for justice.