The internet can be seen as a very effective tool for political change. As seen in the social network revolutions: #mena #arabspring & #maidan. Networks formed online were crucial in organising a core group of activists. Additionally, digital media was used to exercise freedom of speech and as a space for civic engagement.
When you add immediacy and the “ubiquitous connectivity” to the the fact that the internet has “no in-built filter” and “no cost of entry”, participation is addictive.
Even in the countries where the case studies occurred, where political dialogue had previously been restricted, participatory social media spread the unheard and unspoken messages globally in real-time.
There are opposing views when it comes to the role social media played in these protests Malcolm Gladwell declared that “the revolution will not be tweeted” — that social media are practically useless when it comes to serious activism. However, Maria Popova absolutely roasts Gladwell in her essay “Malcolm Gladwell Is #Wrong”, in which she states “I find it incongruous for a man who has abstained from participation in social media to weigh in on their value for civic action”. Click here to read the full essay.