The Unexpected Power of Google-Doc Activism

 at The Cut: “Earlier this month, after major news outlets published detailed allegations of abuse and harassment by Harvey Weinstein, an anonymous woman created a public Google spreadsheet titled Shitty Media Men. It was a space for other anonymous women to name men in media who had exhibited bad behavior ranging from sleazy DMs to rape. There were just a few rules: “Please never name an accuser,” it said at the top. “Please never share this spreadsheet with a man.” The document was live for less than 48 hours, in which time it was shared with dozens of women — and almost certainly a few men.

The goal of the document was not public accountability, according to its creator. It was to privately warn other women, especially those who are not well connected in the industry, about which men in their profession to avoid. This is information women have always shared among themselves, at after-work drinks and in surreptitious chat messages, but the Google Doc sought to collect it in a way that transcended any one woman’s immediate social network. And because the goal was to occupy a kind of middle ground — not public, not quite private either — with little oversight, it made perfect sense that the information appeared as a Google Doc.

Especially in the year since the election, the shared Google Doc has become a familiar way station on the road to collective political action. Shared documents are ideal for collecting resources in one place quickly and easily, without gatekeepers, because they’re free and easy to use. They have been used to crowdsource tweets and hashtags for pushing back against Trump’s first State of the Union address, to spread information on local town-hall events with members of Congress, and to collect vital donation and evacuee info for people affected by the fires in Northern California. A shared Google Doc allows collaborators to work together across time zones and is easy to update as circumstances change.

But perhaps most notably, a Google Doc can be technically public while functionally quite private, allowing members of a like-minded community to reach beyond their immediate friends and collaborators while avoiding the abuse and trolling that comes with publishing on other platforms….(More)”.