Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will not be Tweeted

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Malcolm Gladwell’s article "Small Change: Why the Revolution Will not be Tweeted" raises a significant question about the prospective contribution of web-based social networking to the advent of progressive social movement and change. Gladwell bold declaration that "the revolution will not be tweeted" is reflective of his view that social media has no useful application in serious activism. Contrasting various elements of the “high-stakes” lunch-counter protests in Greensboro, North Carolina in the 1960’s with the “low-stakes” activism achieved through social media, Gladwell concludes that effective social movements powerful enough to impose change on longstanding societal forces require both “strong ties” among participants and the…show more content…
The specific examination of the Greensboro, N.C. lunch counter sit-ins that ignited a wave of similarly executed sit-downs throughout the 1960 was accredited to the strong personal ties amongst the initial Greensboro students. Two were roommates and all had gone to the same high school and shared a wealth of common experiences ranging from smuggling beer into the dormitory to the remembering the injustices of Little Rock. The idea of a month long Woolworth sit-in was initially discussed in the dormitory in a most informal manner. This evidence inexplicably presented by Mr. Gladwell is in complete contradiction to his statement requiring a hierarchy in which national or local leaders and organizations operating in a hierarchical arraignment were essential to the development of significant social change. Debunking the myth of hierarchical necessity brings us back to the question regarding the role of social media. Gladwell elegantly states that social media is "not a natural enemy of the status quo." Thus, the question becomes whether social media can in fact contribute to the process of forming a significant social movement and effective social action, as opposed to whether it can serve as a satisfactory substitute for that process. Referring to the previous example, a phone is not a branch of government, but a phone if properly utilized can mobilize a large
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