Are social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter the new driving force of activism? I think not. In my opinion, these mediums are simply tools being used as opposed to the old methods of telephone or letter writing. They are quicker ways of getting the word out about a certain movement.
The rather important factor should be the people making the protests. Like the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, yes it’s true that many people found out about the protests through some sort of online social media, however, we are forgetting the courage and bravery of these groups of people to start the protests. We should value their cause rather than how they are getting the word out. In a recent New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell, he made a great point:
People protested and brought down governments before Facebook was invented. They did it before the Internet came along. Barely anyone in East Germany in the nineteen-eighties had a phone—and they ended up with hundreds of thousands of people in central Leipzig and brought down a regime that we all thought would last another hundred years—and in the French Revolution the crowd in the streets spoke to one another with that strange, today largely unknown instrument known as the human voice. People with a grievance will always find ways to communicate with each other. How they choose to do it is less interesting, in the end, than why they were driven to do it in the first place.
I agree whole-heartedly. I love Twitter, and I am a frequent user of it, but let’s not give it too much credit.