Tech Tools for Activism Booklet

Tech Tools for Activism is a 32 page booklet produced by members of the HacktionLab collective. It grew out a need to create an easy to read and easy to print guide which summarised the knowledge, tools and services being shared at our HacktionLab gatherings.

It is available in the following formats.

Read the
Online Version
Read the
EPUB Version
Read the
PDF Version
Read in
Open Office
Order some
Printed copies

Tech Tools for Activism has been designed for activists who are not techies and covers the following topics;

  •     Email & Email Lists
  •     Anonymous Blogs and Websites
  •     Microblogging Beyond Twitter
  •     Browsing the Internet Safely
  •     Organising & Networking Online
  •     Mobile Phone Security and Android Apps
  •     Publishing your News
  •     Uploading Media to the Internet
  •     Green Computing
  •     Hiding & Deleting Things on your PC

Version 2.0 now available

Version 2.0 of the TTFA booklet was created in time for the Movement Support Gathering October 2012.  The cover image was a very welcome addition created for the booklet by Eleanor Greenhalgh, whose attended the last few BarnCamps. There was a lot of new tools  to include into the guide and so a lot of the contents of the first version had to be squished down.

One of the team set up a custom link shortener at which allowed us to link out to longer help files on how to use software or for more in-depth information.  We'll be bringing some copies of version 2.0 of the Summer BarnCamp in June in the UK, so come and find us there.

About the production

The booklet was edited collaboratively using the Book Type at the website. This is Free Software that allows online collaboration between writers in different spaces. It is a kind of wiki aimed a the production of linear books and booklets. The layout was all done using CSS. Details on how it was done are to come. There was collaboration, writing, editing and proof reading from members of the Hacktionlab and Floss Manuals mailing lists.

Because the formatting was in the same online software as the writing. The deadline for the booklet was able to be night before the printing was due to happen. All that had to happen was pressing Publish, and a print ready pdf was created. The cover was created separately (in Open Office) and is downloadable here. The first run of 100 was created the next morning at a risograph printers.

Because of this way of working, updating the booklet can be a constantly ongoing process. The 'live' booklet is here, so please do go there, register and update it. If you are interested in this was of working you can find out more.

Getting printed copies

If you want to get hold of printed copies for cost price please get in touch. Please email us at techtoolsbook _at_ hacktionlab _dot_ org.

If you would like to print your own copies please feel free to do this. You can dowload the pdf listed above and create your own cover.

Previous Versions

The first version of the Tech Tools for Activism booklet was first called Tech Tools for Activists. The name was changed after discussion because the term 'activists' suggested some kind of full time role which not everyone would identify with. We feel everyone can do activism and so this booklet should have a wide appeal.

The booklet began live as part of a writing sprint which happened at a Hacktionlab in 2010 in Oxford. A discussion process was used to create a table of contents and a style guide. The writers then took on a chapter or two and introduced it with a user story. We took inspiration from other similar guides like those produced by Tactical Tech, however we wanted to make it a bit light hearted so some of the user stories became kind of ridiculous. An example follows;

Janet and Sammy are a pair of activists with a casual romantic involvement, who are doing community organizing around anti-racist issues. Janet installed a copy of Windows a few years ago on her computer, and no longer updates the anti-virus software. Her computer is hacked and put out of action by for-profit hackers using a Brazilian botnet that sends short-dick spam to all the email addresses on her address book. Before all this renders her unable to do any online political organising, Sammy receives one of the spam emails and recognises it as emanating from Janet's machine, and mistakenly believes that Janet is telling the whole world their secret.

While we really enjoyed writing these stories, and they kept us going at the writing sprint, the feedback we got was that it was a bit distracting and they mostly didn't make it into version 2.

The book as created in Book Type for collaborative and online editing. But the content was then moved into another programme (Open Office?) for layout. Many thanks to Oxford Green print for the good printing deal. And to the Oxford posse for doing the collating and stapling!