Author and New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell takes a swipe at social media as tools for social change in the Oct. 4 issue of the magazine. He disputes the role of Twitter in recent uprisings in Moldova and Iran:
In the Iranian case, meanwhile, the people tweeting about the demonstrations were almost all in the West. “It is time to get Twitter’s role in the events in Iran right,” Golnaz Esfandiari wrote, this past summer, in Foreign Policy. “Simply put: There was no Twitter Revolution inside Iran.” The cadre of prominent bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan, who championed the role of social media in Iran, Esfandiari continued, misunderstood the situation. “Western journalists who couldn’t reach—or didn’t bother reaching?—people on the ground in Iran simply scrolled through the English-language tweets post with tag #iranelection,” she wrote. “Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi.”
Gladwell delves into the means of communication used in organizing Civil Rights sit-ins and compares historical activism to today’s armchair activism. Read the rest of the piece here and tell us in the comments whether you agree or disagree with Gladwell’s premise.