Tuesday, April 03, 2012

#revolutionwhatrevolution?

FT | When I recently discovered Twitter, I went from contemptuous to addicted in about three days. But one thing still puzzles me about the world’s 10th most popular website: the notion that it’s a revolutionary medium. The failed Moldovan rebellion of 2009 was probably the first to be dubbed the “Twitter revolution”, but since then, Twitter has been credited with launching the Iranian uprising, Arab spring and London riots. Now it has supposedly prompted the African Union to hunt for the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, after an anti-Kony propaganda film spread through social media and was watched more than 100 million times. I confidently predict that the next revolution anywhere on earth will be dubbed “the Twitter revolution”.

Non-tweeting readers may have formed the impression that the Twittersphere is devoted to summoning people to demonstrations in grey repressive capitals. In fact, “trending” items are usually celebrity deaths, goals in football matches or anything to do with the teenaged singer Justin Bieber. And what’s true of Twitter appears true of computers in general. They are antirevolutionary devices. The global addiction to computers is helping keep the world quiet and peaceful.

Every now and then, of course, social media do contribute to change. The Facebook page “We are all Khaled Said”, named after a young Egyptian who died in police custody, helped galvanise protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year. And bad activists use YouTube and Twitter too. “On the web one can proselytise for the jihad all day and night with friends from around the world,” writes Jytte Klausen, an expert on terrorism at Brandeis University, and colleagues.

Mostly, though, computers produce quietism. Despite Occupy Wall Street, a striking fact of the great recession in developed countries has been the passivity of young people.

7 comments:

Ed Dunn said...

Simon Kuper ramblings is that of a clueless person who does not understand the power of social networking. There is no longer a need for chaos and a long campaign of wild protests. I guess this Simon Kuper character failed hard to recognized how WikiLeaks gave way to a major revolution in the Middle East and how a flash mob for Trayvon Martin flipped the good ol boy network down in Florida on top of it's head.

Big Don said...

Dennis Rodman's latest creative "side hustle," a women's topless basketball league, should also produce a calming effect...(?)
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/11565073-418/dennis-rodmans-ex-wife-claims-he-owes-808935-in-child-support.html 

Dale Asberry said...

Only with you, Donnie. Most men would get quite excited at the prospect!
The only self-calming going on here, is your focus on other (specifically, some black) people's lack of an internal censor while completely ignoring the fact that you yourself lack the selfsame censor!

CNu said...

 rotflmbao..., hush now Dale!

Don't let on that BD's black folk fetish is a big part of what makes him so entertaining!!!

CNu said...

I ain't see nothing flipped by nothing yet magne..., what I see is that social networking is a convenient and highly accessible (because effectively free) means for quorum sensing in response to completely different and largely ignored underlying economic conditions. The middle-east uprisings literally tracked hunger games in those countries and old-fashioned CIA regime change operations - the skittles and iced-tea peasant festival down in Florida is a mainstream media production being sustained by an overarching need to distract from other consequential, real-world forces and factors that TPTB don't want people paying attention to en masse.

Social media is now an indispensable tool in the cultural production toolkit of dopamine hegemony...,

Big Don said...

BD is, in fact, really a nice guy.  Otherwise we would have referenced that sensational YouTube FAU Crazy Girl...

CNu said...

BD is a predictably obsessed agnosognosic..., and we fully appreciate his unselfconscious self-disclosures.

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