A Critique of Cyberanarchy

Small Change: Twitter, Facebook, and Social Activism

This article does present several valid points on the preference of real vs. virtual social activism. I do not deny that the majority of people in developing countries may not have access to English-based sites like Twitter or even to a computer in the first place. Facebook and Twitter are certainly banned by governments like China and Pakistan.  In such cases, material (or offline) resistance through word-of-mouth and the tedious task of communal organization appears to be the only options available to such people and it would be foolish to think that without access to social networking sites, revolution and opposition would fall to the wayside. Certainly, the majority of Facebook usage occurs in close to two thirds of stable democracies.

However, most of the attacks on the effectiveness of social activism organized via social networking appear to be directed towards Twitter for the most part to strengthen its criticism. Is this to say that Facebook is a useless political tool? Social networking has certainly facilitated the ease and speed of organizing mass protests as well as providing valid outlets for opposition and criticism of governments, which is an impressive record for grassroots organization thus far. The drawback is all the quantitative material out there that users have to sift through before finding authentic events and profiles. However, any blog, any forum post, and even any status update on a social networking site is a expression of individual opinion and can be politically useful in gauging the body politique as Rousseau mentions. The viral popularity of such sites can inspire alternative and similar tools in countries where the Western facade of such sites may not be as appealing as something more homegrown. Ultimately, social networking is one of the many ways on the internet of organizing resistance to oppressive power structures in even the most liberal of democracies.

h organizedttp://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=1http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=1

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