I look forward to this monograph every year. If you work anywhere close to technology, civil society, activism, nonprofits, philanthropy, or social justice, then you should too.
Most people connected to these issues work with a single focus, such as making non-profit tax data machine readable, or building Agile practices inside civil society organizations, or protecting at-risk people with a mix of digital and analog tools. When we’re doing the work it’s very easy to see ourselves in a small field, working on a well-defined goal.
Lucy’s scholarship (and very good writing) shows us that we’re all working together on a very large scale that touches our entire society. She raises the stakes of what we’re doing, and reminds us what’s at stake. She also shows us how to connect with our peers, how to share our goals, and how to work towards a safe, free, and democratic society in the digital age.
She doesn’t pull punches, and she doesn’t paint a rosy picture either; the civil society she helps us aim for is contentious, pluralistic, and in control of its digital tools the same way earlier generations were in control of their analog ones.
It’s been a hell of a year, and a hell of a year before that, but Lucy’s work helps point the way for what we can do about it, at scale, and helps us understand the context in which we’re all working.
Go read it.