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Egypt and the cult of Facebook and Twitter

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    So apparently the protesters in Egypt used some social networking devices like Twitter and Facebook to do some organizing. And this is now causing the Internetatti to gloat, directing most of the gloating toward New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote a provocative column last year surmising that social networking isn't that valuable when it comes to fomenting social movements:


    I guess the larger question for me is: Why are people so devoted to social networking? People really passionately defend Twitter and Facebook. As a child of the '90s, I'm always a little surprised by the level of devotion: I can still recall when you were considered a bit of a social outcast if you were using the Internet to socialize and meet people.

    I tried Facebook for a few months, maybe even a year or so. I finally pulled the plug for good. Just didn't like it. I didn't want to live my social life on the Internet. And I didn't like being that "out there." Also didn't like having to craft my persona in that way. My wife, on the other hand, is a devotee. She's on it several times a day, and I have to bite my tongue a lot as not to say anything negative about Facebook to her.

    Which brings me back to Egypt and Gladwell and the reaction of people.

    Why are people so in the tank for social networking? Or is this just a matter of a self-selecting audience, i.e. the people who are going to take to the Internet to laud social networking are likely to be the ones who love it?
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Why do people love telephones?
  3. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

  4. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Is there really a difference between a devotion to Facebook and a devotion to a message board? People find ways to communicate and connect. This is where the culture is right now, in a year or a month it will be something else.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Maybe the shared interest aspect of a message board?

    But that's a good point, and one I've thought about plenty.
  6. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member


    No awkward introductions. No awkward silence. No commitment. No accountability. Nothing required of you except to occasionally push a button.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I watched "The Social Network" last night (which is why this is on my mind). My wife and I were talking about how we were glad that social networking didn't exist when we were in college. You had to work on relationships back then. Something tells me that made them more meaningful in some ways. Feels like college kids today are living so much of their lives on their smart phones and laptops.

    Now get off my lawn!
  8. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    the reason facebook and Twitter work is because the people on it are out of college or high school, have moved away from their local towns and can keep in touch with old friends. I have a good chunk of friends living in Missouri, Maryland, Arizona, Nevada, Northern California. I live in SoCal.
    For people who have friends who haven't moved away or are still in college or high school, it doesn't make much sense to maintain relationships on the Internet.
    For the rest of us grown-ups, with families and kids and jobs, it helps us keep in touch with friends who live in other states and have grown-up lives of their own.
  9. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    I thought Gladwell's original article was really good and pretty persuasive (for instance, this article swayed me much more than his one on the full-court press). And it wasn't simply about downplaying the idea of social media in the events in Iran. It was about the very idea of activism itself.


    And I think it'd be pretty absurd at this point to give credit to any one thing for the Egypt uprising. There are new books coming out every year that still debate the causes of the Revolution in this country! But after a month we know for certain we should credit Twitter for events in the Middle East?
  10. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member


    A revolution organized by facebook, spread by twitter and organized by a guy working for Google.


    @Ghonim You're the hero of every Egyptian out there. Your Facebook-triggered-revolution is inspirational beyond words. Hats off to you.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Definitely. People I haven't spoken with in 25 years don't show up looking for me on the message board.
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