Study Finds the Internet Is Actually Bad for Revolutions

As Arab governments continue to topple and as citizens of said countries tweet the revolution, it seems logical that social media has at least a little bit in some way aided rebel uprisings. Not so much, says Yale's Navid Hassanpour. "Full connectivity in a social network sometimes can hinder collective action," he wrote in a study reports The New York Times's Noam Cohen. His study found that Tweeting and Facebooking can help spread a message, but it can also create confusion, and when it comes to action doesn't do much. And he's not the first to counter the belief that Twitter fueled the Arab Spring.

When Hosni Mubarak shut down the Internet in the middle of the Tahrir square protests, things heated up even more -- sans access to Twitter argues Hassanpour. Basically, the disruption got people away from their computers and off of their asses. "It implicated many apolitical citizens unaware of or uninterested in the unrest; it forced more face-to-face communication, i.e., more physical presence in streets; and finally it effectively decentralized the rebellion on the 28th through new hybrid communication tactics, producing a quagmire much harder to control and repress than one massive gathering in Tahrir." This happens because ties made on social media aren't particularly strong adds Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. "The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It's terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism."

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

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

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Technology

Just In