Malcolm Gladwell might argue otherwise since he wrote that racial reform and protests — revolutions in their own right — occurred long before Twitter or Facebook. Networking too occurred before Twitter and Facebook but without the speed, velocity and reach. Print has wings now.
To the contrary, as we watch the unprecedented events facilitated by social media unfold in Egypt, we are seeing that social media is in fact enabling a significant social revolution. Further, this is a near replication of events we saw develop in neighboring Tunisia a week earlier. Yemen and Jordan may be next given the speed of print.
That’s true to a point – it’s not the Tweets, per se, that matter, but it is the words and messages they carry. It’s an efficient exchange of information and ability to rapidly network that has enabled the protestors to organize and coalesce. No print, no feet.
Tonight, while Schaefer’s generation of cowards get a crash course on the biography of Muhammad Husni Sayyid Mubarak, Brian Solis wrote on Posterous “140 characters is more than enough to convey the struggles of humanity.”
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@Krista, love the analysis "medium or the message." I think you are absolutely right about the speed: tools have made things move much, much faster. In addition, it's allow us to connect with people we might not ordinarily meet.
Great post on an interesting discussion! I think events are unfolding so quickly, that it's difficult to determine what is more powerful, the medium or the message. While social movements occured well before social media, I believe that the speed at which they have been taking place is due in part to the ease of sharing images and messages via online outlets. In the end, I believe it is the content or the message crafted by humans that is more powerful. However, the medium to carry those messages has changed considrably from the days of the printing press.