Overview

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Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted

Malcolm Gladwell begins by narrating the Greensboro sit-ins in South Carolina, an event of the civil rights movement that spread throughout the American South in just one year. This was, in large part, due to the coordination led by influential leaders and local churches. The author points out that social media was not necessary for its success. Gladwell shows the flaws of using social media as a modern revolutionary tool. Modern protesters, in countries like Moldova and Iran, have taken their causes to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook – sites that, while useful for raising awareness, have serious downsides for political activism and organization. Social media cannot drive revolutions worldwide if it lacks centralized leadership and continues to be dominated by western nations, like the United States.  Also, social media certainly cannot help win revolutions if the majority of citizens in developing countries do not have access to the Internet. The author uses this platform to give a more critical standpoint to the growing influence of social media.

Gladwell, Malcolm. “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted.” The New Yorker. 4 October 2010. Web. 6 July 2012. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=1>.

 

Welcome to the social media revolution

The speed of communication is faster than ever before in human history, and because of advancements like the Internet and smart phones, information can be accessed instantly. This advancement in communicative technologies has caused social networking to become extremely popular. New media outlets are responsible for bridging the gaps between youth and global issues, employers and employees and businesses and consumers. Marc Benioff asserts that social media has the potential to become the global means for communicating, networking and empowering people to become the change they want in their communities.

Benioff, Marc. “Welcome to the social media revolution.” BBC News. 10 May 2012. Web. 29 June 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18013662>.

 

Hashtag Activism, and Its Limits

As an online reporter, David Carr knows all too well how easy it is to hit the “like” button on social media sites. In his article, he questions how much impact a person can have by simply clicking a button on his or her screen. Carr is afraid that social media users only “like” pages about raising awareness on breast cancer or KONY2012 in order to gain “social currency” and become more popular with their friends and peers. Though initially skeptical of social media and its limitations, Carr ultimately comes to the conclusion that it has the ability to inspire individuals to take action towards specific causes. This piece is a critical narrative that focuses on the connection between social media and activism.

Carr, David. “Hashtag Activism, and Its Limits.” The New York Times. 25 March 2012. Web. 12 July 2012.   <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/business/media/hashtag-activism-and-its-limits.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>.

 

Social Media as a Tool for Protest

While turmoil stirred in Egypt, the country’s government began to shut down access to the Internet. Social media is largely credited for sparking the Egyptian uprisings, but authors Marko Papic and Sean Noonan argue that this is a misconception. They deny that social media is the sole underlying factor in these revolutions. According to the authors, the political and social climate of a country has the greatest influence. They point out that social media is only as effective as the leaders who use it. Online organizations do not imply physical action, and social media does not necessarily simplify a revolution. In fact, social media has just as many negative features as positive ones. Protesters expose their identities and governments can retaliate. This in-depth article analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of using social media as a tool for revolution.

Papic, Marko and Sean Noonan. “Social Media as a Tool for Protest.” Stratfor Global Intelligence. 3 February 2011. Web. 13 July 2012. <http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110202-social-media-tool-protest>.

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