15 Replies to “Tunisia Teaching Gladwell”

  1. Exactly – the use of the medium is the message, not the medium itself. Blaming divorces on Facebook is erroneous; the marriages, plus society are what’s weak, FB just provides a faster way to break up. I don’t think all that much of Gladwell’s books; kind of faddy.

    1. I was never a big fan of the NRA, but I do think the guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people argument is 100% accurate with this. How we get to social networking causing revolutions and only being as good as finding a lost phone is weird. What social network does do is expose human behaviors and motivations in a group environment. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I found the whole Tunisia Revolution fascinating. It just sort of came out of left field and then there has been all this debate about how big a roll social media played. What I think many, including Malcolm Gladwell, are missing about Twitter is how many people in developing countries are using mobile phones to access it. You have people in refugee camps or living in huts with no electricity (not talking Tunisia here) on Twitter. It’s an extraordinary game changer in organizing and getting news to people.

    1. Truly, mobile phones are the great equalizer and in some developing countries the infrastructure is better than the U.S. Facebook is a huge differentiator as they protect people’s IDs in cases of government interference.

      1. Yes, indeed, Facebook is a huge differentiator too. FYI, I am still looking for good analysis on what role Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, etc. played in Tunisia. Much I’ve seen, such as http://www.quora.com/Journalism/What-role-did-social-media-play-with-regards-to-the-revolution-in-Tunisia, seems off to me. Tunisia has 90 percent mobile penetration but only 35 percent Internet penetration (with the majority in cities and the richer coastal areas). Sidi Bouzid, where the riots started, is a small town in a poorer region??? If you run across any great analysis about Tunisia (or what’s now happening in Egypt), I hope you post about it!!!

    2. Truly, mobile phones are the great equalizer and in some developing countries the infrastructure is better than the U.S. Facebook is a huge differentiator as they protect people’s IDs in cases of government interference.

    1. That’s an interesting video. I am not sure I take anything that comes with a TED label as literal though. If anything the Internet has proven to be more democratizing than not as lessons continue to show. Even in China where revolution is far from reality, the pressures of the Internet have forced change upon the government. I wouldn’t be so quick to accept extremes on either side. Thanks for coming by.

  3. I think what’s interesting is you point out that the government had been arresting bloggers, waging war on internet activists. That suggests it feared the power of the internet, and why not trust them that it’s something to fear?

    Great piece.

    1. It’s truly the great evidence. China and Iran also police Internet voices, and that’s off the top of my head without doing research.

  4. Great post, Geoff! Important to note. Gladwell is a smart guy, but he’s been way off base on all of this (as has Foreign Policy magazine, and others).

    1. Yeah, it’s not really fair to apply a pre online social networking theory to a current environment. Or maybe it is fair, just erroneous. Hmm.

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