As much as I’m a fan of social networks and social media, I think to say that they are a major push for change and reform in society is a bit much.
There are some things that people can argue about social media, and I would support their statements:
1) Social media brings awareness to people that would normally not be aware of world events. To use Gladwells example – Save Darfur. I remember seeing this campaign/statement everywhere when I was in college. Mainly though, I saw it on the Internet, on peoples Facebook pages. When I saw it in real life, it was usually tied to an event organized on Facebook. But, as Gladwell claims, liking something is not the same as supporting it. Yes more people are aware of the situation, but they don’t really do anything about it or make their voice heard.
2) Social media is a great way to organize events, specifically rallys and such. You are able to get a message out to lots of people at the same time, and to get people to attend.
While these two things really are what I think of when I think of the power of Social Media for change, there is still something to be said about real human interaction.
Gladwell brings up a very good point in saying that “the risk-free kinds of relationship that technology promotes are the antithesis of genuine complex human interaction.” I don’t know if people really think that online interaction is in any way shape or form similar to actual human interaction, but I feel that some people rely on it way to much. I know I do. I mean, look at me. I’m on facebook and twitter interacting with people I’ve never met! I’d rather hang out with them in person, but unfortunately, we live so far apart that’s not a possibility.
I just think it makes people feel good to “like” some cause, because they feel they are getting the word out…but how about you actually do something about the cause instead of just liking it?