The potentiality of the Internet has been of question all semester. What can the Internet achieve and how can it achieve it are of much debate. The Arab Spring provides an example of the ways in which the Internet can be of service in mobilizing revolutionary efforts. However, Morozov and Gladwell are hesitant to gloat of the successes of the Internet. Their hesitancy comes from social media being a tool for revolution, not the revolution. The application of their arguments to this idea advances the understanding of the larger picture and what the Internet can achieve.
Morozov argues that searching for technical solutions, or quick fixes, through the Internet, for problems that are inherent social is largely detrimental to the democratic process (305). However, if technical solutions are not viewed as the quick fix to the social problem but a way to solve the social problem, success can be achieved. Morozov believes that politicians or policy makers become enthralled with the idea of the seductive quick-fix and lose the will to participate in reframing non-technological social problems (305). I agree that there no substitute for on the ground activism and involvement and that not every problem is technological. However, I largely disagree with Morozov. As Karpf had previously mentioned, distinguishing between tactics and strategy is critical to the successes of the Internet. If there is a lack of distinguished difference, then yes, using the Internet as a tool is detrimental in “attacking symptoms” not the root causes (Morozov 304). But employing the Internet as a means to achieving a goal can be both helpful and useful.
Similarly, Gladwell insists that the ways in which people bring down governments is far less interesting that the actual act of bringing down governments (2). This discounts the power of Internet, but does successful employ Karpf’s argument. Gladwell seems to be saying, who cares about the tactics, we care about the strategy. Though limiting in it’s own regard, Gladwell does not discount the Internet, but instead chooses to focus on the ways in which social change is achieved.
As we studied in class, there are many different outcomes in the different countries participating in the Arab Spring. Do you feel this is a reflection of the Internet and how it was used or the environment that it was being used in? What factors hinder or exacerbate the successes of the Internet?