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Small Change
Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
Malcolm Gladwell The New Yorker October 2010

The civil-rights war that engulfed the South, and the lives of some 70,000 students in the 1960’s, happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.

When the sit-in movement spread from Greensboro, it did not spread indiscriminately. It spread to those cities which had preëxisting “movement centers”—a core of dedicated and trained activists ready to turn the “fever” into action.  That meant groundwork training sessions, retreats for protesters, legal planning, in other words…high-risk, strategic activism.
Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is.
Digital Media is simply a form of organizing which favors the weak-tie connections that give us access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of danger.
It makes it easier for activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have any impact. The instruments of social media are not a natural enemy of the status quo.
“Networks are passive motivators. If it doesn’t cost me much time, money or energy, I’ll “Like” your cause on Facebook. I’ll retweet your plea to sign a petition. I’ll perhaps even donate a few bucks to clean up oily pelicans.
But weak ties won’t motivate people to DEFY a government.
(CCSS, VAM, Corporate School Seizures, High On Pay Scale Firings, TFA)

Gladwell’s tome wasn’t an attack on social networking. It was merely an attempt to bring a sense of reality to the over-inflated sense of import we give it. This isn’t to say social networks aren’t powerful or meaningful or cannot help facilitate revolution, activism and social change. They can. But they help facilitate it, not drive it.” Jason Falls @ Social Media Explorer

If you are of the opinion that all the world needs is a little buffing around the edges, this essay should not trouble you. But if you think that there are still lunch counters out there that need integrating, it ought to give you pause

 

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