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First POST: Power Frames

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 21 2014

Power Frames

  • In the Harvard Business Review, Jeremy Heimans of Purpose and Henry Timms of the 92nd Street Y explain how to understand the differences between "old power" and "new power." They write:

    Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.
    New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it….New power models are enabled by peer coordination and the agency of the crowd—without participation, they are just empty vessels. Old power is enabled by what people or organizations own, know, or control that nobody else does—once old power models lose that, they lose their advantage.

  • Old power: BuzzFeed's Johana Bhulyan unearths an internal Uber memo showing that the company has sought to hire opposition researchers to go after its enemies in the taxi industry, a tactic that she suggests took on greater urgency after the arrival of former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe at the company in August.

  • New power? A leaked slide deck from Uber shows the company is making a lot of revenue: about a billion a year from its top five markets alone, reports Alyson Shontell for Business Insider.

  • To Heimans and Timms, Uber is a hybrid: "an example of a new power model and decidedly old power values."

  • More old power wins?: In Politico Magazine, Michael Hirsh argues that the movement for NSA reform has "fizzled" out.

  • Power struggle: The "most transparent administration in history" continues to fight the release of the Senate's classified torture report. "It's being slow-walked to death," Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told the Huffington Post. "It makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad, which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future," he added.

  • New power: Craig Newmark explains why "a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy." Key word: trustworthy.

  • Old, old power: Inside Philanthropy's David Callahan zeroes in on modern philanthropy's dirty little secret:

    Why are living donors more willing to give up control over how grant dollars are spent than philanthropoids? You'd think it would be the exact opposite, with fretful donors micromanaging their grantees as they watch their bank balances go down. (Not that we don't hear such stories.) Instead, it's professional foundation staff and board members—those who don't have personal money on the line—who are the control freaks.

  • New power debate: On Ello, technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci takes issue with Astra Taylor and Joanne McNeil's essay, "The Dads of Tech." In particular, she "vehemently" objects to Taylor and McNeil's characterization of Clay Shirky as a sexist mansplainer, writing, "in this world of real problems and sexism and patriarchy and all of that, and especially in the technology world, if Clay is the biggest enemy we can find, I will retire from feminism."