The technological flood in the past decades that includes blogging and micro-blogging, emails, instant messaging among many others have shaped the communication processes, individual behavior and interactions in the society. Before technology came into being, the life was hard and cumbersome but constraint did not prevent the people from revolutionizing their own world in their own way. In the article “Small Change” by Malcolm Gladwell, the revolution in the early sixties happened without the help of Twitter or Facebook; the technology was not involved to bring the revolution. Although, I partially agree with Malcolm’s argument that revolution cannot be tweeted; I disagree with his conclusion that the ties that are held within the social networks are weak. I strongly disagree with his fierce and unhealthy kind of activism that he has greatly praised in the article.
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are sites that allow users to exchange photos, videos and messages. Malcolm says that the social ties that are within Facebook and Twitter are weak ones. He adds that Twitter is a platform for following people that may have never met and Facebook is a network for managing acquaintances and staying in touch with people. Malcolm finds this to be a weak tie that cannot lead any activism or result to any revolution. I agree with the sociologist Mark Granovetter, who found the strength in the weak tie of Facebook and Twitter. Mark says that the acquaintances are a source of brilliant new ideas and relevant information. He approves the efficiency that is brought by the social network, the interdisciplinary collaboration, diffusion of innovation among many other useful things and not for the purpose of leading a high risk activism.
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The social networks have been used to drive the social change. Andy Smith and Professor Jennifer L. Aaker told the story about a young entrepreneur, who needed a bone marrow transplant but could not get a match from the relatives and friends. The message was passed through Facebook pages and YouTube videos. It was a campaign, devoted to help Bhatia, eventually he received a match. This is the perfect illustration of the strength of social network.
Moreover, I strongly disagree with Malcolm in his saying that social network cannot lead any revolution. It was observed in 2011 when the revolution fever swept across the Middle East to Egypt, Tunisia. People all over the world watched the civil war that was taking place in these countries, transmitted through the social networks such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. There is no doubt that the social network played a role in those upheavals. In 2001, during the impeachment trial of Philippine president Joseph Estrada, the loyalists in Congress of the Philippines were set to act as key evidence against the President. With the help of text messages and social network they were able to organize a protest in Manila crossroads; within few days more than a million people arrived in Manila ready to protest, demanding the Legislator to allow the evidence to be presented. The public was able to coordinate such a great and fast response with the help of social networks. This event marked the very first time that the social network had facilitated the force out of a national leader. Similar regime change has been observed in Tunisia and Egypt (Safranek).
I disagree with the article when Malcolm says that the social network is only effective in increasing participation. He points out that Facebook activism is weak and he is looking down upon it. He assumes that people, who participate in Facebook activism are not brave enough to make real sacrifices. He even compares it to the activism, encountered from the lunch counters of Greensboro. According to Malcolm’s opinion, real physical activism, that at most times lead to many people being imprisoned and some times dead, is considered as a powerful activism, but in the real sense this is a inferior act, when people break the law in order to prove a point. In my opinion, social network plays a positive kind of activism that is peaceful and decent. In saving people’s live like in the Bhatia’s case it was a good activism in social networks, therefore social network saves lives instead of destroying life.
Although, Malcolm’s analogy seems to be convincing enough to some people; I would say it is not legally right. Malcolm points out that the four demonstrators in Greensboro were the member of NAACP Youth Council, he is justifying something that is not right. The founder of NAACP Youth Council did not intend the Council to be with demonstration purposes, as it was in the case of four students in Greensboro. The Council was intended to bring justice to the black Americans in a legal way. Various cases were observed when the African American was granted justice in the Supreme Court. Council’s intentions were to formulate laws that fair for all the people in American. The founder of the Council wanted to abolish the Jim Crows aws and formulate a legal procedure that could lead justice to black students in America. In my conclusion and opinion, Malcolm’s justification of the act of the four students, who were treated unfairly, is under no circumstance legal. The students should have gone to Court to seek the legal judgment rather than forming a demonstration that led to many deaths, students were arrested and a lot of buildings, included churches, were burnt.
I would say Malcolm is an insane writer, but it is very inappropriate to say that, he is defending things that are not socially healthy, such as terrorist attacks. Why would he praise the high risk activism so much, and even more harm was experienced to the demonstrators and to the society? He comments in the article that social media is a tool for building networks alone, networks, that are not controlled by any central authority. This is not true. A good example of how social media have been regulated was when Government od Ireland formed a Committee that could regulate people’s comments in Facebook and Twitter. Anything that could lead to unhealthy demonstration was banned. Moreover, the text messages, reported to cause insecurity to people, can be accessed easily with the use of technology (Gradwell 4).
The main agenda of social network is to unite people in order to achieve a positive outcome, unlike in Malcolm’s cases where he does not approve social network’s connectivity for not being beneficial to illegal groups, such as Al Qaeda. It is insane to say that Al Qaeda failed because of inefficiency of social network. Terrorist Groups are failing to accomplish its dangerous attacks due to the efficiency of the technology. The use of technology by peacekeepers has enhanced in tracking down the terrorist. In Malcolm’s article he describes these to be a weak point for the group but it is a strong point to the society. He argues that when terrorists were organizing the hierarchy, consisting of professional management and well defined divisions of labor, they were more unified and successful. He fails to see that they were successful in killing and destroying property.
On another hand, technology and especially the social network has facilitated various economic activities that are beneficial to the society. Social network gives marketers the voice and a convenient way to communicate with their customers and potential customers. The use of technology helps in personalizing the brands; and helps to spread the message in a conversational way. The globalization’s effects, which include products being sold from one continent to another and making a world become like a small village, where so much economic activities can take place. The outsourcing factor is enhanced that leads to efficiency and a greater productivity in the country. The social network is a tool that brings convenience and efficiency (Lake).
In conclusion, social network is an organ that was created with the best of intentions but people have misused it. The abuse of social network has caused too many deaths, the popular one was the death of Mr. McEntee. This does not justify the criticism by the writer of the article, who views the social network as a failure to terrorists and activist with bad intentions. It is clearly observed in the article that he views the activisms in the social network to be of the faint hearted people. The writer is considerate, when he calls the good intended activism like the activism for saving life, as an act for the faint hearted. His arrogance is also seen in the event, when he criticizes the act of Evva when his sidekick’s phone was stolen by a young teenager, named Sasha. With the help of social network they were able to get the phone back. Malcolm views these as injustice for Sasha; he is not encouraging honesty in the society. Although, social network has had its share of bad actions in most scenarios, the social network is beneficial and very informative.
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