This week’s readings focused on the potential make-up of social movements moving forward through analyzing technological, social media, and US Government roles in activism. I argue that however beneficial a technology may be, there is no ‘technological fix’ (Morozov) to the problems of society, and we should continue to view the grievances and situations of the actual people. Technology and US support will not make the people revolt, so we should view the aspects of their society that perpetuate revolts, regardless of what social media tools they may use. US attempts to promote democracy through ‘2-Way’ discussions over the Internet are noble, but this will not put an end to autocratic regimes. Democracy must come from the people.
The Cohn and Abdo pieces were focused on the United State’s efforts/roles in the promotion of democracy/activism abroad. The Cohn piece spoke about the US’s decision to part from their passive .gov website toward social media as a means of promoting democracy. The Abdo piece spoke about the importance of US support by comparing Egypt’s uprising and Iran’s.
Morozov’s piece analyzes the ‘technological fix,’ (Weinburg) or the idea that technological advances will always find a cure for society’s problems. Morozov’s piece mirrors his expected cynical view of the Internet’s capability to solve world problems and talks about how people aim to apply ‘technological fixes’ “aggressively and indiscriminately.” However, he argues that they fail to realize ‘technological fixes’ attack only “symptoms” of issues and fail to attack the root of the problem. To me, this analysis connected with the idea that we need to understand local conditions, years of oppression, and the people’s grievances to really topple a set of issues.
The short Malcolm Gladwell piece, “Does Egypt Need Twitter?”, acknowledges that people in Egypt may of, at some point, used social media as a means of communication, but he says that revolutions have occurred way before the Internet was invented. His most interesting line, to me, was “People with a grievance will always find a way to communicate with each other.” This places the upmost importance on the grievances that drive the unique populations in their unique states of oppression and do not try and place a cookie cutter analysis on their situation; deeming that their route of communication was more influential than the problems at hand.
My question: Do you think that as new social networks are established and new technologies arise, we will begin to ascribe them credit for social activism in the future? Will Twitter and Facebook just be viewed as tools of communication, rather than driving forces when we view these uprisings in retrospect?