By Jo DeBoltTuesday, November 29th, 2011
In Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector we described how demographic shifts, technological advances, networks that organize work in new ways, interest in civic engagement and volunteerism, and the blurring of sector boundaries would be changing the way that we come together to respond to and solve social problems.
If you have followed the emergence and spread of the Occupy Wall Street movement, you can see these trends at work – and it’s precisely the changes implied by the trends that have made this a difficult story for traditional media to cover. How many times have you seen reports that this is a “leaderless movement?” In a session on social change at the recent Independent Sector conference, a young woman expressed her frustration at this term, saying “The problem that people seem to have in understanding OWS is that it is, in fact, a leader-full movement.” She makes a good point. Those involved are sharing leadership, inviting others to engage in the movement, and they are using technology to communicate broadly and through open channels – but not necessarily the channels to which traditional media are accustomed (no one issues press releases announcing the next day’s events).