Does Technology Shape Social Revolution?

“Social technologies also facilitate communities — that is, they enable people to connect up who might not otherwise have connected… It also allows the formation of strong social bonds; how strong they are compared to real-life communities remains debated, but in the Middle East they have been strong enough to inspire people to risk their lives together.

But that’s different from causation, different from the factors that change the risk equation for people to decide it is worth risking their safety in the streets. The technologies aren’t as important as what is driving people to put themselves in harm’s way, whether it be food prices, economic uncertainty or a long-term build-up of resentment toward regimes. This was the mistake made by Western social media spruikers who dubbed events in the Middle East “Twitter revolutions.”

Bernard Keane, Crikey

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