Social media: not the future of revolution?

So, lets not ignore the latest from Malcolm Gladwell, social media guru and author of The Tipping Point. Those of you with half an ear to the social media ground have probably been aware of the shockwaves he set off with his New Yorker article. The blogosphere is practically vibrating with responses, many of them twittering furiously to undermine Gladwell’s argument.

What provoked this? His opinion piece Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted posits that social media is not the future of campaigning: social media ties are so weak that they do not translate to true action.

Many people have responded to his article, so to do so here would probably just add to the noise. What made my ears prick up however, was that he picks up on exactly the theme that we’re exploring on 28 October in our Future of Campaigning seminar. If social media is not the future of campaigning, as Gladwell broadly maintains, what is? Is it more like business as usual than an evolving future? Bring along your thoughts on Gladwell’s point of view and explore whether he’s right or wrong with our various expert speakers.

And in the meantime, this is a good round up of online responses to Gladwell’s New Yorker article. On Kanter’s page, I particularly liked her extract from a comment by Jennifer Aaker author of  The Dragonfly Effect:

As Malcolm suggested lowering the bar, making it easier for people to participate, is one mechanism at hand. But there are other mechanisms at work too.  The level of motivation increases (which increases participation, independent of ability). Where does motivation come from? It is generated partly from the story, and the social network that enables that story to be told. And it is generated partly by social cues. And where are you likely to fine more personally relevant social cues than embedded in a network of your closest friends and contemporaries?  There are stories that people want to share and stories that people want to hear. Social media allows the people who have stories but no resources finally have their stories heard.

Last updated at 13:25 Mon 04/Oct/10.
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Kathryn's picture


Third Sector Foresight

This is a great article from the folks over at Mashable HQ: Why social media is reinventing activism aka why Malcolm Gladwell is wrong. They present their case compellingly, but the most interesting parts for me were the case studies they used.

And remember, if you're interested in this, join us online on the afternoon of the 28th October to talk about the future of campaigning.

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