Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups
By Cindy Lyles
Desegregation protests and sit-ins of the 1960s show how traditional activism holds great power. Today’s social media enthusiasts find a similar power in social organizing through Facebook, Twitter, emails, and texts. But, Malcolm Gladwell views approaches differently in "Small Change: why the revolution will not be tweeted.”
Gladwell hones in on distinctions between face-to-face methods of organizing for political change as opposed to approaches that might involve virtual contact and less direct interaction. Gladwell notes, for example, that "donating bone marrow isn’t a trivial matter. But it doesn’t involve financial or personal risk; it doesn’t mean spending a summer being chased by armed men in pickup trucks,” in the way that some direct, on-the-ground, so to speak, political engagements might.
When Gladwell's article was initially published, it drew significant conversation. Not surprisingly, the essay was roundly criticized by large numbers of people on social media. What you think about Gladwell's main claims concerning different kinds of activism?