WIRED‘s 14 Must-Read Books of Summer: “In The Revolution That Wasn’t, Schradie explains that, while Black Lives Matter and #MeToo capture headlines, it’s traditionally powerful conservative groups who have used digital tools to create tangible change. Hers may not be the internet culture take you want this summer, but it’s likely the one you need.” ―Emma Grey Ellis

Maclean’s Books You need to Read in 2019: “Trump has no overt presence in The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives. But the compulsive tweeter comes constantly to mind as French sociologist Jen Schradie persuasively argues her counterintuitive case: digital organizing―once complacently thought by progressives to advantage their grassroots uprisings―has turned out to be another ‘weapon in the arsenal of the powerful.’”―Brian Bethune

Newsweek: “Conservatives use social media to move their agenda much more than liberals do” – an excerpt from Schradie’s The Revolution That Wasn’t

The Atlantic: “As the sociologist Jen Schradie demonstrates in great detail in her new book…Facebook and Google work better for top-down, well-funded, disciplined, directed movements. Those adjectives tend to describe conservative groups more than liberal or leftist groups in the United States…Internet platforms are demonstrably not silencing conservative ideas. If anything, the opposite is true.” – Siva Vaidhyanathan

Vox: An in-depth interview with author Jen Schradie: “…technology is not only failing to level the playing field for activists, it’s actually making things worse by “creating a digital activism gap.” The differences in power and organization, Schradie says, have undercut working-class movements and bolstered authoritarian groups.” – Sean Illing

TechCrunch: This feature, informed by Schradie’s research, analyzes the Democratic Party chances in the 2020 election: “The Revolution That Wasn’t contends that the internet’s early application as a progressive organizing tool has been overtaken by more conservative elements.” – Jonathan Shieber

The Verge: “…as Jen Schradie wrote in this year’s The Revolution That Wasn’t, social networks have more reliably served to reinforce existing social hierarchies. Getting wide reach on platforms typically takes pre-existing celebrity, a coordinated campaign, or both.” – Casey Newton

Washington Monthly: “Schradie’s arresting thesis is that digital activism favors conservatives. This conclusion … runs counter to the techno-optimism that has long informed the research agenda of media scholars charting the influence of the internet in public life….While Schradie recognizes the quantitative dimension of online engagement, the primary strength of her book lies in her fine-grained ethnographic analysis of the ways in which left-leaning and right-leaning groups did, and did not, take advantage of digital media.” – Richard R. John

Times Higher Education: “In this timely and thoughtful book, sociologist Jen Schradie uses her own comprehensive research to build a picture of the factors that constrain grass-roots movements from taking advantage of the power of the internet – and, more specifically, the World Wide Web. … This well-researched and provocative text is likely to make uncomfortable reading for anyone who believes that the internet has gifted us a political “digital utopia”. A particular strength is that the book is very much a personal narrative, with the author relating first-hand accounts of meetings, discussions and public events involving the digital activists of the title. The style is conversational and intimate, recalling how John Steinbeck approached similar socio-political issues in his road trip “in search of America”, Travels with Charley (1962) – which is about as big a compliment as I can give.” – John Gilbey

Inside Higher Ed:  “…a fascinating book that adds new insights to our understanding of the information landscape we live in today, one that focuses more on people than on tech.” – Barbara Fister

Pop Matters: “Could it be that the internet and social media, rather than being an equalizing, democratizing force, could instead be a technology that’s more innately in sync with conservative, right-wing ideology? It’s a question Schradie probes unflinchingly in her thorough, exhaustive study…. Schradie’s superb study – easily one of the most important yet on social media’s impact on democracy — makes for grim but insightful reading.” – Hans Rollman

Boundary 2 – Duke University Press Journal: An “excellent and important book…Jen Schradie has made a vital intervention in current discussions (inside the academy and amongst activists) regarding the politics of social media. Eschewing a polemical tone, which refuses to sing the praises of social media or to condemn it outright, Schradie provides a measured assessment that addresses the way in which social media is actually being used by activists of varying political stripes—with a careful emphasis on the successes these groups have enjoyed. Schradie allows the activists on both sides to speak in their own words, taking seriously their claims about what they were doing. And while the book is closely anchored in the context of a particular struggle in North Carolina, the analytical tools that Schradie develops .. allow Schradie’s conclusions to be mapped onto other social movements and struggles.” – Zachary Loeb

Stanford Social Innovation Review: “…articulates society’s creeping apprehensions about the digital world. It is not only in surveillance and fake news that digital platforms marketed for our pleasure are harming us. Even in digital activism—the use of digital technology for social change—those who support the status quo have the upper hand. Schradie also creates a number of innovations in her study, including what she calls a “Digital Activism Score” that forms the basis of her statistical analysis. The score, which seeks to systematize digital activism activity, measures the extent to which each group used and updated specific digital platforms; how interactive a group’s presence was on each platform; and whether or not the public responded to these activities by liking, sharing, and commenting on that content.”  – Mary Joyce

Kirkus Reviews: “Schradie suggests [that] the image the words ‘digital activist’ should conjure is not of a left-wing student or labor activist but instead a well-heeled think-tank denizen or technologically adept Tea Party member.”

Times Literary Supplement: “Schradie tracks how, in the years before Trump was elected, conservative activists – believing themselves to be digital underdogs – diligently built a vast, digital ecosystem, a hyper-mobilized coterie of “digital minutemen” disseminating highly targeted information. They used the internet as “a straightforward communication device”. Progressive activists, by contrast, tended to use digital spaces to build consensus. “The right-wing opposition had what they lacked: a clear message without the messiness and destruction of constantly changing multiple points of view”. Digital activism, she concludes, “is only as revolutionary as the strength of the hegemony of groups that are using it”. – Beejay Silcox

IndyWeek: “The real story, she writes, is that the dynamics of digital activism aren’t all that different from those of traditional activism, and conservatives have the same advantages online that they did before the internet: time and money.” — Jeffrey Billman

Le Monde: “…le constat de la chercheuse pose une question de fond qui ne peut qu’interroger profondément le rapport de la gauche à la technologie. Depuis les promesses des pionniers des réseaux, la gauche a tendance à croire que les méthodes traditionnelles d’organisation ne sont plus valables ou pertinentes. Or, en démontrant que les structures organisationnelles traditionnelles renforcent l’activisme en ligne, en soulignant que cet activisme nécessite des formes organisées classiques, pyramidales plus qu’horizontales, elle rappelle que l’organisation est toujours importante.” – Hubert Guillaud

Usbek & Rica: “Le constat est rude, mais Jen Schradie est formelle : la démocratie numérique est un fantasme. Internet amplifie les voix dominantes, celles de ceux qui ont déjà le plus de ressources, et le plus de pouvoir. L’intérêt que nous portons à de grands mouvements sociaux spontanés comme #MeToo nous aveugle, et nous éloigne de la réalité du terrain, dans laquelle il n’est pas besoin des fameuses fake news pour que les messages conservateurs soient beaucoup plus relayés que les messages progressistes.” – Annabelle Laurent et Blaise Mao

O Estado de S. Paulo: In an article about the book that connects to the use of WhatsApp in the Brazilian election of a far-right conservative, Bolsonaro: “Não é apenas uma questão de conservadores terem mais recursos financeiros, mas também de haver uma conexão entre os conservadores e a forma de organização”, afirmou Schradie. Ela menciona, por exemplo, que o sucesso do ativismo digital exige grupos com habilidade e conhecimento de uso da internet, para criar conteúdo, o que novamente remete a uma parcela da sociedade que tem mais acesso a recursos financeiros.” – Beatriz Bulla

Pre-Press Reviews

“The Revolution That Wasn’t reveals the textured reality of contemporary activism, challenging widespread assumptions about technology’s role in social movements. Beautiful storytelling and grounded insights make this book a delightful and important read for anyone who is concerned about politics today.”—danah boyd, author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

“Simply put, The Revolution That Wasn’t overturns our reigning assumptions about digital activism. Schradie demonstrates how resources, organizations, and ideology shape the potentials for and outcomes of digital activism, and reveals the dynamics behind the conservative digital organizing resurgence in the U.S. since 2010. This highly readable and richly detailed book will become the first stop for those seeking to understand why the internet failed to live up to the ideals of democratic dreamers.”―Daniel Kreiss, University of North Carolina and author of Prototype Politics

“The Revolution That Wasn’t synthesizes a wealth of accumulated knowledge to launch a new phase of scholarly endeavor. Blending ethnographic methods with quantitative assessments, Jen Schradie’s work shows that the claims of both digital optimists and pessimists miss the mark. She reveals that successful digital activism is linked to more traditional resources that give well-endowed groups a natural advantage, but one that can be acquired by their progressive opponents. A pleasure to read, and packed with vibrant interactions with activists of both types, Schradie’s book will take the study of digital activism to a new level.”―Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University and author of Power in Movement

“The Revolution That Wasn’t reveals the textured reality of contemporary activism, challenging widespread assumptions about technology’s role in social movements. Beautiful storytelling and grounded insights make this book a delightful and important read for anyone who is concerned about politics today.”―danah boyd, author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

“Don’t believe the mythology of what works in digital activism, or the hyped advice that all voices can simply count. This book lays out the real deal. Perfect for change agents aiming to turn their wild ideas into new realities.”―Nilofer Merchant, author of The Power of Onlyness

Podcasts and Videos

KPFA (Pacifica Foundation Radio): Against the Grain: Listen to Jen Schradie explain how her research uncovered the rather unexpected finding that the “typical profile” of a digital activist is…a political conservative

Big Think: Watch Schradie’s Big Think introduction to the ideas behind The Revolution That Wasn’t

The Politics Guys: On this podcast, listen to Schradie discuss how to close the activism gap

WUNC: The State of Things: In an interview by Frank Stasio, listen to Schradie explain how groups who are resource-rich, authoritative, and hierarchical—characteristics shared by conservative organizations—have an advantage in online activism

WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast: Listen to Schradie discuss “social media bias”

KPFA (Pacifica Foundation Radio): Upfront: Listen to Schradie describe how conservatives dominate the left in digital activism