Introduction The article, ‘Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted?’ by Malcolm Gladwell compares the role of social networking media to the Civil Rights Movement of 1960s in America in connecting people on socially relevant issues. The author asserts that technology driven social networking can garner huge public response but they can never have as powerful impact as Civil Rights Movement which had emotionally and physically connected people to the common social issue…
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It helps in running the movement for a sustained period of time to achieve desired goals and objectives. The people need to be involved physically and emotionally with the cause so that they can relate with it. ‘Strong ties’ connects people. He says success of Civil Rights Movement was because people were also emotionally connected with the issue and were guided by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Church. There was no ambiguity in the way it was to be carried out which made it more focused and easily sustainable for longer time if required. Author denigrates the importance of social networking media in ushering social changes within society. His main contention is that it has short span of memory for important issues and it is not backed by personal commitment to the cause. Critique The article has used comparative secondary resources to understand and emphasize the paradigms of social change. He especially discusses the role of social networking media as against personal and more traditional means of social activism which directly juxtaposes political authority and popular will. The case of Greensboro, North Carolina has been used to showcase the power of people. The movement was started by just four college students as a sit in Woolworth’s but within a week, spread like wild fire to encompass hundreds of students across wider geographical areas. The Civil Rights Movement had also huge participation of people, dragging on for years with same zeal and culminating in Civil Rights Act. Gladwell has found Stanford sociologist Doug McAdam’s claim that Greenboro’s students’ movement was linked to strong personal ties rather than ideological affinity to be very pertinent to social change. Students’ protest turned into a mass movement because of close ties amongst the participants which escalated communication and brought together students from everywhere. They were bound by common connection and belief that was generated because of the ties itself! It is incredible the way Gladwell has quashed the ideology and trust on the issues that are supposedly be the major drivers of change. Personal connection and ties strengthen movements but if not backed by the conviction to the cause, they tend to lose their momentum. Tomasso Fattori (2008) says in article that Italy’s social movements in 2001 and 2002 had failed despite massive participation mainly because they were not ‘solidly rooted within society and local communities’. It uses flawed logic based on somebody else’s opinion and makes assumptions based on those logics. The secondary sources used as examples to prove his hypothesis that personal ties are intrinsic to social movements that bring change, are not backed by strong statistics or research. They are just individual perspectives of writers. Suggestion of Anne Applebaum has been taken as gospel of truth for Moldova’s revolution which was also dubbed as Twitter revolution. Same is true of various sources that the author has quoted through out his article. Author’s example of Red Brigade, the Italian terrorist group is also not substantiated by any solid research or authenticated by personal interaction with any member of that group. Indeed, author’
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