Could Tunisia Be The Next Twitter Revolution? Ctd

More

Evgeny Morozov dismisses the notion:

What strikes me about events in Tunisia is that social media seems to have failed in what many of us thought would be its greatest contribution (outside of social mobilization) - that is in helping to generate and shape the coverage of events in the mainstream media. On the contrary, despite all the buzz on Twitter it took four weeks to get the events in Tunisia on the front pages of major newspapers, at least here in the US (the situation in Europe was somewhat better - and it was way better in the Middle East - for all the obvious reasons).

This is an odd standard. The core test is whether Twitter and online activism helped organize protests. It appears they did, even through government censorship. Wikileaks also clearly helped. So did al Jazeera, for those who see it entirely as an Islamist front.

This is not to deny that many of us were watching the Tunisian events unfold via Twitter. But let's not kid ourselves: this is still a very small audience of overeducated tech-savvy people interested in foreign policy. I bet that 90% of Twitter users are not like that - and that percentage will get worse as Twitter becomes more mainstream. So, if we evaluate it in terms of awareness-raising by exploiting and building off the mainstream media, Tunisia's "Twitter Revolution" (as Andrew Sullivan was already quick to dub it), seems to have failed.

("Dubbing" is quite a stretch - the Dish merely aired Ethan Zuckerman's essay exploring the question.) Adrian Chen is also cynical of the social media aspect of the coup:

Nobody's citing Foursquare yet, but it's only a matter of time before some journalist finds a few protestors checking into a riot.

We'll soon have more facts and memories to help us assess the influence of new media on this event. I remain of the view that it can help a great deal, but is never, of course, sufficient.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down