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all praise al jazeera and don’t be harsh on my guy malcolm gladwell

Al Jazeera continues to have the best reporting around when it comes to the Arab Spring. For example, the Al Jazeera Libya blog had a wonderful photo from Benghazi, the city that has now emerged as the temporary center of Free Libya.

This is apparently an all purpose room for coordinating protest, information, medical help, and so forth. The twitters and youtube clips collected by Al Jazeera’s professional journalists and amateurs by far surpasses what I’ve seen and read in any other venue. Three cheers for a free press.

Tangential topic: Andrew Sullivan has been hammering my guy Malcolm Gladwell for saying that the Internet wouldn’t be big deal in social movements. Yes, a big fail. But let me defend Gladwell on a more subtle point. He is correct in noting that Twitter and Facebook constitute weak ties. He’s also correct in that certain types of action probably wouln’t be facilitated by social networking sites, aside from connecting people who already know each other well.

But there’s Tipping Point Gladwell, who I think is better here. It’s true that Facebook didn’t generate many great strong ties leading to action, but it provided a low cost way for people to get past the tipping point. You don’t need strong ties to show up at a protest in a repressive regime. You just need to know enough like minded people will show up at the same time.

Written by fabiorojas

February 28, 2011 at 3:05 am

Posted in fabio, social movements

2 Responses

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  1. I can understand arguing against recent events as meriting Gladwell’s hammering. But why is he “your guy”? You seem like a pretty well informed person, exactly the type to dislike Gladwell.

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    teageegeepea

    March 1, 2011 at 6:33 am

  2. @teageegeepea: Yes, I can sit around and criticize Gladwell, but he’s fun and he covers sociological topics. That’s exceedingly rare in a journalist. I’m glad he’s writing.

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    fabiorojas

    March 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm


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