Malcolm Gladwell’s “Get Off My Lawn” Ludditism is Really Grating

Have you seen Malcolm Gladwell’s latest missive about social media and social change: Does Egypt Need Twitter?

Beth Kanter did a fantastic job addressing Gladwell’s earlier claims and concerns about social media. However, Gladwell’s “get off my lawn” ludditism has become really grating, don’t you think? Obviously social media played a role in current events in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. While the medium is certainly not the whole story, to wholly dismiss its contribution without due consideration is absurd. Shouldn’t we try to learn as much as possible about the role social media has played so that these lessons can be applied to future cases?

2 Replies to “Malcolm Gladwell’s “Get Off My Lawn” Ludditism is Really Grating”

  1. Well said Karen!

    Gladwell’s premise is really absurd: we have been having revolutions long before social media, therefore social media isn’t a factor. That makes about as much sense as the idea that the advent of printing press didn’t contribute to accelerating social change. Change happened before we had the printed word. But the printed word certainly made the transmission of ideas faster and easier. There may well be ideas that never would have made it to a place where they influenced people to change things had the printed word not existed. Social media does the same thing: it accelerates communication, enabling faster response & coordination. Social change requires some communication & coordination between people. Anything that accelerates communication among people and/or makes it more accessible can affect the process of change and might even make a difference in actions a message hitting a “tipping point.”. 😉


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