03 March 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another post in my ongoing but irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody."
social tools don't create collective action - they merely remove obstacles to it.

Shirky, chapter 6, pg. 159
I think this is particularly relevant right now, given what's happening in Egypt and indeed many of the countries in the Middle East.

Some people have called the overthrow of the Mubarak dictatorship the "Facebook (or Twitter) Revolution." But that's inaccurate. Facebook didn't cause the revolution. Most experts attribute it to a number of things, including a youth movement to protest the state of the economy (and particularly unemployment) and, of course, people protesting a repressive regime. But Facebook and Twitter did help facilitate coordination of collective action. That's the power of these tools. But they are just tools. Only we can determine what they are used for.

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