Following the recent publication of her book Transnational Advocacy in the Digital Era, Think Global, Act Local, Dr Nina Hall joins Emily Jones (Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government) to discuss how mass digital mobilisation through digital advocacy organisations is rapidly shaping public opinion on a range of transnational policy issues.
The digital era has enabled the growth and global spread of a new generation of advocacy organisations. Digital advocacy organisations, such as MoveOn, GetUp and Campact, use digital analytics to identify the most salient issues of the day, and rapidly mobilise large memberships, to put pressure on politicians. They are operating in over 20 countries – from South Africa to Sweden; Poland to New Zealand – and claim over 17 million members worldwide. Digital advocacy organisations gain influence by rapidly recruiting members online and offline.
Meanwhile, traditional Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) wield power through expertise and long-term, moral commitment to an issue. Digital advocacy organisations are shaping public opinion on many transnational problems such as climate change, trade and refugees. However, they do so by focusing on national targets rather than international institutions. This new generation of activists has formed a strong transnational network, but still sees the state as the locus of power.