Malcolm Gladwell is #wrong

More on reactions an the web on why Malcolm Gladwell is #wrong.

Gladwell argues that the reason four black students dared to plant themselves at a Greensboro lunch counter in the first place was that the protestors were close friends, providing one another with enough support and even peer pressure to withstand a potentially violent reception. The social web, he claims, fails to foster such strong relationships. Again, he presents a false cut-and-dried distinction between online and offline communities. While connections on Facebook and, more so, Twitter require minimal familiarity, it is increasingly common for online acquaintances to deepen into real, offline friendships. (When a commenter made this point in The New Yorker’s live Q&A with Gladwell last week, the author promptly and derisively dismissed the suggestion. His exact words: “At last! A positive side effect of social media! I would guess it has improved the typing skills of many users as well.”)

Anecdotally, for what it’s worth, I’ve met online both my best friend in the world and the only person with whom I’ve ever maybe-possibly been in love. I didn’t seek out either of these connections through online dating sites and the like, but encountered them through the organic intersection of our paths as directed by the nature of our work — the same old-fashioned way people have always met strangers who go on to become something more. What originated as weak ties ended up industrial-strength connections. And based on countless conversations I’ve had with other friends (many of whom I’ve also met online and are now very much a part of my “real-life” social circle), I am not an exception.

Personally, I agree with this rebuttal. I believe that the revolution will be tweeted.

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • Felicity

    Perhaps Gladwell was away on a secluded island and incommunicado when the Burma protests happened, or when the Iran green revolution made waves. Haiti crowdsourcing. Edsa 2 via SMS. On a more democratic front, the Obama win was arguably a revolution and was fought primarily online. On a smaller scale, the Aquino campaign deployed a social media battalion as well (if it is a revolution is yet to be determined).

    As a “curator” and “synthesizer” Gladwell surely has a narrow mind; he is still unable to process the evolution and revolution of social action.