The readings for this week were about the multiple political movements in several Arab countries from 2009 to present day. It talks about the organization of the movements, how social media played a role in organizing, and how each government reacted. Depending on how the government reacted to the social organization of the movements during the Arab Springs, these authors try to determine what the future holds between the relationship of the Internet and what role Arab Government regimes with play.
Gladwell, again, defends that “the ‘how’ of a communicative act is of huge importance” (Gladwell). He believes that social activism that hold high-risks require strong tied connections. He brings up points that social activism has been successful in the past without the need for Facebook, Twitter, or any other type of social media, and also states that when there is a problem that people feel the need to stand up for, people will always find a way to communicate with each other even if social media were to shut down. He ends stating that “why” people are driven to protest is much more important than “how” people chose to do it. Morozov makes a similar point that social and political changes cannot be made through technology. He says that technology drives issues into dead ends and that it cannot give people the political chance the social activists are looking for. Both Gladwell and Morozov have a pessimistic and extreme view on social media and its effects on social movements.
Springborg also believes that social media technology had little to do with Arab Spring protests. The reading focuses more on how the protests succeeded/failed and little to do with the technology involved, unlike Gladwell and Morozov, where they emphasized that technology was being given too much credit for its involvement and effect during the protests. The readings from this week are too extreme in its views on social media being, essentially, ineffective, when in fact, I believe it’s because social media wasn’t able to carry out its full potential because of the governments’ roles in filtering and repressing the Internet.
Social Media habits are constantly developing and growing in the roles it plays with politics and networking, and certain government regimes have repressed and filtered how its citizens can use Social Media Sites. Do you see this problem getting any better or worse? If this problem does get worse, do you see it making a huge effect on political movements? How do you think social media habits will change, in the future, with Internet filters being a common form of repression?