social change | January 17, 2013

Micro-Movements Will Change The World: Ben Rattray at TEDxManila

Social media has afforded almost anyone, anywhere in the world, the ability to speak out against social injustice. As Ben Rattray explains in his keynote at TEDxManila, this has given rise to a new, specific form of social movement: the micro-movement. Social media has allowed more people to get involved in smaller, personal causes. These micro-movements have proven to be as successful—if not more successful—than their larger counterparts.

Thanks to platforms like Rattray's (an online petition website), there are fewer boundaries in place to prevent people from getting their voice heard. That gives more people the ability to start, or contribute to, a social movement. Since these micro-movements are often started by individuals instead of organizations, they tend to look different than the social movements of the past. They are usually rooted in a personal story that brings a complex, abstract problem to a more concrete and relateable level. Since they are so focused and accessible to others, these small-scale calls-to-action are extremely powerful. The other interesting aspect, Rattray says, is that they inspire others to continue that movement as well. Since the changes proposed are usually attainable, others begin to start their own petitions to achieve similar goals.

"These micro-movements mobilize people to realize their own potential to make a difference," he says. At, he sees this in action everyday. The website has tackled almost 100,000 causes since its inception and more members are joining and making petitions every day. The potential exists for everyone to make a change in the world, he says, and sometimes taking a small step forward can have the biggest impact.

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