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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Malcolm Gladwell's most recent essay "Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted" is a social critique of social media.  He pulls no punches...well, he doesn't so much sucker punch social media with his bare-knuckles as he sharply wins the argument like a skilled fencer.

When you read his essay.....and you should read his essay.....then humor yourself (and me) by inserting the words found in the title as you read it (think 1960's Batman, the television show).

I find his running illustration of the Civil Rights movement (contrasted with the recent events in Iran) as a wonderful example of what he calls "strong ties" (versus "weak ties," which social media generally fosters).  He also has interesting observations regarding structures (hierarchy vs. networks) as they relate to activism.

I wonder if his essay is a timely piece to showcase the mystery of inertia, movements, fads, trends?  I wonder if there are books available to teach a person "how to" foster social media for their business or online persona (or people like me who are blogging about it), then is it likely the bus has moved on?  I wonder if there comes a point when the bus keeps moving and never slowing down or when there are too many bus stops and way too many people needing rides that it becomes an ineffective form of transportation?

Personally, I want to connect/build/cultivate/nurture relationships that are strong-ties––relationships that will inspire me to fight injustice and stand beside me when others want to spit in my face because I am sitting at their counter and are equally scared as me,  but their presence is enough encouragement to stay the course.  I want "strong-ties" to encourage me and stand beside me saying, "Play the man!" Likewise, I want to be like one who does that for those standing beside me.

On a related note:
Gladwell's essay reminds me of something else he has written: "The Power of Context: The Magic Number of 150" found in his book The Tipping Point.

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