The New Yorker joins a conversation we have all been having recently about the quality of the connections we are making with online social networking. He considers social change, and points at flaws in the argument that websites like Twitter and Face are the new living rooms for revolutions.
Considering the lack of face and twitter in any “aggressive social movements”, Gladwell decides it was the amount of “critical friends “the more friends you had who were critical of the regime the more likely you were to join the protest” as opposed to the more acquantances involved. .
I start to think about how facebook is a land of acquantances. It is like a bar you enter and check out the scene, making some superficial comparisons and observations. Each night checking in to see what’s happening- but happening is not a clear enough description. About 70% of what we see is the first few moments at bar: who is with who, who is talking to who, who got a new haircut, and who made a funny joke.
Just like facebook and twitter may not be leading to revolutionary social movements, I doubt they are serving as a social living room. Perhaps that is part of why sharing new thoughts on a new video over a beer or discussing new life choices over tea seem more precious, just as the fervor of the civil rights movement seems sanctified and unfortunately mumified.