Delving deep into the history of how new media has the ability to cause the autocratic ways of governments to run into a stone wall, the infamous incident of how university students of Indonesia leveraged on the power of e-mail to overthrow the then corrupt President Suharto presents itself as an excellent illustration. Through examining more recent cases where the citizens of Tunisia and Egypt have tapped on the power of social media to help upend the existing political order, the potency of new media becomes apparent.
In his article “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”, published in the New York Times on October 2010, Malcolm Gladwell looks closely into the notion of social change and the different means to achieve it. He makes a clear distinction between traditional activism, which implies sacrifices and physical devotion, and current activism, based on social networks. The writer considers that “social media can’t provide what social change has always required” (Gladwell, paragraph 1).
Also in Bryant Simon essay “Global Brands Contend with Appreciation for the Local” Simon argues that “global brands will erode national, regional and neighborhood distinctiveness.”(368) Ariela Garvett talks about internet democracy and social media and its potential. She focuses on the potential of worldwide social media and the amount of group power it can give.In Garvett essay “Tweets and Transitions: How the Arab Spring Reaffirms the Internet’s Democratizing Potential” she writes, “The Internet demonstrates the possibilities of change
In the article “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” by Malcolm Gladwell, he argues that the use of social media to start a revolution doesn’t help the cause to be as big or impactful than it could be. He explains the connection between social media with “weak-ties” versus “strong-ties.” In relation with these “ties,” throughout the article Gladwell goes back and forth from discussing the successful approaches of the Civil Rights Movement and their strategies for their cause without the use of social media, to how ineffective other various organizations in the past and present turned to social media to try their cause.
To build his argument, he ties in similar examples from history that involve either social or political activism. Not only does he connect these examples to the “weak ties” that the platforms of social media are built upon, but he also offers insight to his readers, the general public, and social-networking gurus (Gladwell 551). In his essay, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”, Gladwell creates a rhetorically effective argument that illustrates why social networking is not an adequate way to conduct social or political activism.
The main argument of the Gladwell in this article is that social media is not effective in “high-risk” activism because it lacks strong bonds and hierarchical command structure. Although he agrees that social media can bring a “limited” change which has far less consequences than the “high risk” activism and do not require a higher level of commitment. He thinks that social media is not an effective enemy of status quo.
The 2011 uprising in Egypt was in many ways a traditional brick-and-mortar revolution, but with a cyber-twist to it: based on their statistical analysis of a large body of tweets related to the 2011 uprising in Egypt, Starbird and Palen (2012) observed that activists used Twitter as an important tool to share ideas and information with like-minded people, because Twitter allows a high number of activists interact using its retweet and other mechanisms. In this case, Twitter was used among participants and supporters of a traditional mass movement to bypass government controlled
Does social media “shrink the world” by bringing us closer together? In his article Small Change, Malcom Gladwell asserts that social media might be connecting more people, but the bonds it forms allow us to stay comfortably separate and avoid impacting meaningful social reform. Gladwell makes it apparent that he believes social media and revolutions are unsuited for each other. His article, written just two months before the beginning of the Arab Spring, was written in response to what some contemporaries have dubbed, “The Twitter Revolution” in Moldova. This revolution, as well as another in Iran, was heralded as examples of the merits of social media, with some even nominating Twitter for the Nobel Peace Prize due to their belief that Twitter had played a major role in these uprisings. Gladwell writes against a sentiment of righteousness and accomplishment that advocates of social media maintain in an attempt to convince people that the true motivation behind social change is conviction. He raises the point that while it is exceedingly easy for someone to join a cause, such as hitting a ‘like’ button, it is far more effortless for them to quit. This sentiment seems to be fueled mostly by opinion, looking only at how social media did not cause revolutions and avoiding analysis regarding how
Gladwell sends a very strong message about how social media cannot cause a major revolution in society; likewise, Baron is sending across the same message. Revolutions continue even after the internet is shut down. As crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Baron describes how they “continued to grow during the five days that the Mubarak government shut down the internet” (330). The crowds increased in size without the help of social media. Somehow, word got out and people came to support the cause. Also, Baron brings into realization that Americans are too involved in the world of social media. Americans fail to realize all of the news that they are missing because they “can’t seem to survive without the constant stimulus of digital multitasking” (Baron 330). American citizens are too busy tweeting about what they ate for breakfast to worry about the hungry that is going on overseas. They depend on social networking to tell them the news rather that picking up a newspaper and reading about what is going on in their country or maybe even overseas in a different country.
In Mark Pfeifle’s article “Changing the Face(book) of Social Activism,” the definition of the term slacktivism is introduced with the words of the Urban Dictionary which defines it as an idea that belong to people who want to look like they are taking action to support a cause when they mostly do nothing. Despite the dictionary’s meaning of the term, Pfeifle concludes that slacktivism has completely changed social activism because people all over the world now have the ability to create impacting and beneficial reforms on society. He argues that social media is more powerful than ever, and the way people play a role in politics has changed because of it. Pfeifle gives an example of the power that social media has when he points out that the Democrats regained power through the use of social media during Obama’s run for presidency. He states that social media can form political groups with greater masses of people while reducing the expenses as well as the difficulty of organizing one anywhere in the world from Cairo to Zuccotti Park. He also supported his conclusion with the example of Kony, a cruel guerilla leader whose brutality was exposed to the world with the help of slacktivists. Keeping all these events in mind with the contribution of social media, Pfeifle sees the totality in the positive change of social activism from slacktivism. Pfeifle is right about slacktivism having successfully transformed social activism since it causes vast social changes, increases the
In the 21st century if the revolution is not tweeted, is it still a revolution? Many say the revolution will not be televised but it will be tweeted. In “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted,” by Malcolm Gladwell, he provides us with an argument on how social media has an impact on activism. Gladwell discusses how social media will not spur the next revolution because it has changed the way protests form. The protests went from small, high-risk acts formed by people whose purpose was close to their heart to a low-risk act with an enormous amount of people who may hardly know each other. Although interesting, Gladwell’s article fails to prove today’s revolution will not be tweeted.
The term “social media” refers to the wide range of Internet-based and mobile services that allow users to participate in online exchanges, contribute user-created content, or join online communities (Dewing). It has become common today to use applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to express and share your thoughts, opinions, and common interest. In Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted, writer Malcolm Gladwell touches upon the issues of social media’s role in activism vs. the traditional way of becoming a true activist Many of us today use these social networks for its beneficial approach to attract users and acquaintances to support their cause or
In his essay, “Changing the Face(book) of Social Activism”, Mark Pfeifle writes about the role social media has played socially and politically in our world. In his time, Mark Pfeife has served as a top national security advisor, communicator and deputy assistant for George W. Bush. Pfeife has come to the conclusion that social media has redefined social activism - in place, calling it “social slacktivism”. The word “slacktivism” is a conjuring of his views and biases. Pfeife believes this describes the populace as taking action over the internet without doing anything physically to change things. An example that Pfeife brings up is during the presidential election of 2008, Barack Obama’s campaign was promoted all over online, sources like
Malcolm Gladwell argues through social media “the traditional relationship between political authority and popular will has been upended, making it easier for the powerless to collaborate, coordinate and give voice to their concerns,” but ultimately concedes this collaboration doesn’t provide enough social motivation to act (Gladwell,
The internet is a powerful tool for activists, but can also be utilized by the other side by promoting propaganda and mobilizing their own supporters. Networking sites have revolutionized the way people activists approach revolutions. Moreover, the internet has connected people from across the world and has caused people in the states (like myself) to become invested in a civil war occurring in a part of the world I never knew existed. The internet has empowered and enabled people by connecting like-minded people, providing access to information, broadcasting events, and creating real connections between people. Alone, the internet is not enough to bring down an oppressive, authoritarian state; but when coupled with the power and will of the people, it can create real