Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov both take interesting stances on the role of social media in revolutionary activity, particularly particularly Twitter in the Iranian Revolution. Both authors’ stances lie starkly in contrast to the broadly accepted concept that revolutions in the modern age are occurring online; new technology has conceivably pushed its way to the forefront of all social activity.
Gladwell compares modern “revolutions” to civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s and describes the inherent difference as lying within the ties between the individuals. While those who began non-violent demonstrations in the 60s had strong social ties between them, the typical social media aficionado typically has weak connections with a great multitude of individuals. This fact makes people less compelled to actually actively try to change something, instead content to take the easier route of continuing to further the cause online. Nothing truly revolutionary comes of this.
Morozov echoes Gladwell’s sentiment of the downfall of weak ties and also begs for consideration of the prospect that social media organization methods can be easily monitored and sabotaged by the government and other detractors.
Both authors further state that Twitter is not entirely ineffective to the revolutionary cause but is, in itself, not enough. The people involved must have some real world motivation as well. In consideration of these analyses, do you think that the role of social media in the wake of revolution is as purely a tool for dissemination of real revolutionary activity, or do you think that there is a more strategic way to primarily utilize social media to one’s revolutionary advantage?