Magazine article Information Today

Changing the World-One Digital Signature at a Time

Magazine article Information Today

Changing the World-One Digital Signature at a Time

Article excerpt

From Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's advocacy for the worldwide education of girls to a protest over the death of Brian, the talking dog character on Family Guy, Change .org has been at the center of many social campaigns. It facilitates online activism by letting anyone sign or start a petition to protest or promote any cause. According to the site, its users have had more than 17,000 victories on large and small social issues in 196 countries, and more than 1,000 new petitions are started every day.

A Tool for Collective Action

Change.org was founded in 2007 by Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas, who were classmates at Stanford University. The original website went through several iterations, evolving from a focus on social fundraising to group volunteerism to virtual political action groups. In 2010, Rattray and Dimas revamped it again to focus on citizen-driven collective action.

Change.org was originally conceived as a nonprofit, but in 2011, it became a certified B Corp--a company held to high standards for benefiting society. (See bcorporation.net for more information.) Much of Change.erg's revenue comes from organizations, including nonprofits and political groups that run sponsored campaigns. In addition, some users become Sustainers by contributing $5-$50 a month. Change.org is now a profitable company with more than 250 employees in 18 countries.

Start Your Own Petition

Launching a Change.org petition is free and easy. You can create one on almost any topic. Although the website has most often been associated with progressive causes, Change.org asserts that it is "an open platform with room for a wide range of perspectives." Administrators will remove content only if it violates the petition guidelines, which prohibit hate speech and incitements to violence.

Change.org encourages you to ask yourself three questions as you're creating a petition: "What do I want to change? …

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