Using Social Networking to Dismantle Agribusiness

May 16, 2009

My life mission is to be part of the movement that will wipe out factory farming, and most remaining animal agriculture, in our lifetimes.

With that said, I probably spend only half my work time reading and writing about farmed animal and vegetarian issues. The other half of my time I devote to thinking about the Internet—social networking in particular. Why? Because I believe social networking provides tools that offer activists the best shot to quickly dismantle animal agriculture.

Last year I was lucky enough to have Clay Shirky on my VegTalk podcast. If you’re remotely serious about making a big difference for farmed animals, you have to read his book, and that’s all there is to it.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, the veggie movement hasn’t been leveraging the Internet and winning victories comparable to what other tolerance-based causes have recently been achieving. And I think the reason behind our failure is that most veggie and animal protection people have yet to fundamentally grasp the enormous powers they can have online.

This lesson has been brought home to me twice in the past month. A few weeks ago, we saw that the FBI had skipped right over any number of truly scary people and organizations, and instead named a vegan who hadn’t harmed anyone to its most wanted terrorist list.

Shortly thereafter, we saw that those fuckers in the pork industry were able to convince the CDC to rename “Swine Flu” as H1N1.

These are just two recent issues that an informed public would never have accepted, had word simply gotten out. Both of these issues were outrageous enough to end up being eviscerated by the mainstream media, if only they had been adequately publicized. But we, as a movement, collectively failed to seize the moment and create the buzz over these injustices that would have convinced the general public to side with us.

If all of this strikes a chord with you, I hope you’ll begin taking your own involvement in social networking seriously. To quickly get up to speed, check out the one hour documentary “Us Now,” which has just been released for free online viewing.

I recommend this film in the strongest terms. For developing your activist thinking, there may be no better way to spend an hour. (Via BoingBoing) Link.

Us Now from Banyak Films on Vimeo.

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