Last week the author Malcolm Gladwell poured cold water on the idea that revolution could be instigated by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
He centres his argument around the American civil rights movement, claiming that the strong bonds forged offline were required to spark action in the streets, where millions ultimately gathered in the 60s to protest against segregation and oppression. Social media, by contrast, forges only “weak ties”, says Gladwell. Not the kind of bonds required to make a difference where it really counts.
I think he’s completely missing the point. Martin Luther King’s status updates and tweets would have helped to spread awareness quickly, encouraging activism, had Facebook and Twitter been available in his day. You can bet your life he’d have used them to spread word.
A connected world cannot be a bad thing for change, in whatever form it takes.