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Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted - 2
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Why the Revolution will not be Tweeted  -  2

“Reforming Egypt in 140 Characters” and “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.”

The two articles in the above title, the first written by Dennis Baron and the latter by Malcolm Gladwell; both have something to say about texting/Tweeting, and Facebook.

Specifically they discuss how this new medium affects revolutions.

Baron points out, that Facebook, Twitter, Smartphones, and the Internet, were credited with the overthrow of the Egyptian government.

Baron then argues that, after Mubarak shut down the Internet, the crowd continued to grow in Tahrir Square for the next five days.

Baron then explains this mystery, saying that, “… although Americans can’t seem to survive without the constant stimulus of digital multitasking, much of the rest of the world barely notices when the cable is down” (330).

Baron then concedes that although the Internet does connect people, and is a good source for finding information, it does not replace the “sneakernet” (333).

In other words, “…when the libraries are burning, the phone lines get cut, the newspaper is shuttered, tanks surround the television station, and the Internet goes down” (333), you can still count on good old word of mouth to get the message out.

Likewise, Gladwell makes the point that revolution, real revolution, doesn’t rely on social media for success. Gladwell cites the coffee shop sit-in’s in the 1960’s.

It started with just four students, and grew into a national phenomena of some seventy thousand, “—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter” (314).

Gladwell explains that real success, in bringing about social change depends on an organized hierarchy that operates with “military precision” (324). He also points out the importance of “… trust, and camaraderie through regular, face-to-face meetings” (324).

Gladwell goes on to say, “The evangelist of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend” (321). In other words, one shouldn’t consider CIBER friends as real friends.

In sum, then, both authors discount social networking as the catalyst of great social change.

In my opinion both Baron and Gladwell are correct.

Though I concede that Twitter and Facebook may have helped the cause in the Middle East, I think it was the singular action of that one man in Tunisia, who set himself on fire that sparked a passion for justice, which far outweighed the prevalent fear of the people.

Without that passion for change, it wouldn’t have mattered what cool gadget it was broadcast on.

In other words, the libraries will burn, and the cable will be cut, but the people will still manage to get their message out and across great divides.

It might be easier and faster than two thousand years ago, and it might not; the human spirit will prevail, not the Internet.


Street Talk

Evelyn, oh how you can write. Very nice, and nice site as well, got caught up exploring it.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Wow! thank you, appreciate the feedback. I confess that my only real interest in all of this is writing. I have not figured out how to make any from it so far:)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

have you taken the 30 day challenge? It will teach you a ton of stuff if not.

  
  about 1 decade ago
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