Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gladwell's Small Change -- Different modes of activism

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?


Jamal Sims said...

Gladwell made good claims concerning media and he also supported them well. I agree that society depends heavily on technology/social media. i believe changed definitely needs to be placed.

Ashley Bass said...

I understand what Gladwell is saying, but in some ways social media can be better than face-face methods of organizing for political change. With face-to-face methods, not as many people will be able to attend, because the word won't spread as quickly. By urging for political change through social media, thousands of people will be able to back up what they believe in and have a say.

Terry Taborn said...

I agree with Gladwell that society leans too heavily on technology. If something happens that people feel strongly about no one hesitates to get up in arms on twitter or facebook but when it comes down to it who is really willing to stand up and make a change? Back in the day the only way for change to happen was when people rallied and marched. The civil rights movement is proof of that. Face to face contact makes a much bigger impact than online.

Jessica Hickman said...

I partially agree with Gladwell's claim. Society today has become dependent on social media to spread the word about important issues. Even though this helps spread the word to more people, the idea of unity such as marches has diminished. In the past marches worked to gain support for issues. A combination of both marches and social media could help a lot.

Joneshia Y. said...

I agree with the fact that society today relies too heavily on technology and social media to get their points across, but at the same time social media can be beneficial because you can reach a wider and more varied public.