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Gladwell, M. (2010). Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted.

from The New Yorker:

The new tools of social media have reinvented social activism. With Facebook and
Twitter and the like, the traditional relationship between political authority and popular
will has been upended, making it easier for the powerless to collaborate, cordinate, and
give voice to their concerns.

Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools.
Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American
history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is.
The platforms of social media are built around weak ties.

Social networks are particularly effective at increasing motivation, Aaker and Smith
write. But thats not true. Social networks are effective at increasing participationby
lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.
In other words, Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real
sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not
motivated enough to make a real sacrifice. We are a long way from the lunch counters of
It 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 shifts our energies from organizations that promote strategic and disciplined
activity and toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. It makes it easier for
activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have any impact. The
instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more
efficient. They are not a natural enemy of the status quo.

Tesis de Gladweell:

-Lazy activism
- Weak ties vs Strong Bonds

Respuestas a Gladwell
Gladwell's argument is that social networks encourage a lazy activism that will only extend as far
as "liking" a cause but not actually doing anything about it. This is because social networks are
built around weak ties, where real activism needs strong bonds
Gladwell ignores the true significance of social media, which lies in their ability to rapidly spread
information about alternative points of view that might otherwise never reach a large audience.
"We seem to have forgotten what activism is," writes Gladwell. If activism is defined only as taking
direct action and protesting on the streets, he might be right. But if activism extends to changing
the minds of people, to making populations aware of what their governments are doing in their
name, to influencing opinion across the world, then the revolution will be indeed be tweeted.
Leo Mirani, The Guardian.
Gladwell examined the most effective mass protest of modern times, he argued that such
activism was based on the strength of intimate friendships and shared experience, and directed by
hierarchical power, could never have arisen from the "weak ties" and "horizontal" associations
that characterise the campaigning of online "friends" and "followers".
From this and other anecdotes Gladwell drew the following conclusion: that while social
networks may be useful for some communication to alert like-minded acquaintances to social
events, or to solve a specific "weak tie" problem, such as the location of a bone marrow donor
they do not promote the passionate collective engagement that causes individuals to make
commitments that result in social change. Facebook "likers", he argued, are not sitters-in or
nonviolent activists, they are not even marchers or candle-wavers; they may wish to associate
themselves with a protest app, but the nature of their medium means they do so with negligible
risk and therefore negligible effect.

Gladwell argued last Thursday that what drove him crazy about "the digerati" was that
they "refuse to accept the fact that there is a class of social problems for which there is no
technological solution.
"Look, technology is going to solve the energy problem. I'm convinced of it. But
technology does not and cannot change the underlying dynamics of 'human' problems: it
does not make it easier to love or to motivate or to dream or convince."
In an argument that will run and run, he seemed to be inverting the wisdom of a social
theorist from a previous age: the message is not only about the medium.