Sunday, October 03, 2010
Malcolm Gladwell article in The New Yorker
In the October issue of the New Yorker there is an article called "Small Change, why the revolution will not be tweeted" by Malcolm Gladwell. I found this article to have all the typical good Gladwell qualities such as an interesting topic, a bit counter intuitive and also challenging mainstream ideas. In the article Gladwell makes an interesting argument about social networks and their potential power to support or produce societal change. Gladwell makes the case that serious and real societal change can only be done through activism that is a different sort than what happens in social networks. He makes the case by contrasting "weak ties" with "strong ties" when it comes to relationships and friendships. He also contrast the "network" with the "hierarchy". The overall argument is that for real activism to happen the preconditions are the presence of strong ties and hierarchy, while social networks only provide weak ties and networks. I am quite sure that this article will produce a lot of discussions and I can see a lot of defenders of social network jumping on Gladwell's arguments. However, his argumentation is clear and straightforward and fact based so it will be difficult to find convincing counter arguments. I highly recommend the article.