Ivan Boothe on Wed, 23 Feb 2011 20:43:50 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Twitter does not cause revolution, people do

OK, this is getting annoying. No one's arguing that Twitter "causes" revolution. 

But I challenge this author or anyone else to find anyone above the level of Some Guy On the Internet arguing that Twitter "causes" revolution.

we are living in different worlds, then.

because i hear it up to a dozen times a day, from every direction, at every level of authority. 

"twitter revolution" was first uttered by clay shirky and jeff jarvis, neither one "Some Guy On the Internet." Shirky has changed his tune once he actually thought about it. jarvis meant a software revolution, but there's not much difference between a change in software and a change in government. apparently. 

But that's just exactly my point. Shirky did call it a Twitter Revolution -- perhaps a poor choice of words in service of a catchy title -- but he did NOT say "Twitter caused revolution."

And to Mark's email, I actually think we're on the same page -- different habits, and different software, does change the way we look at things, how we do things, how we plan revolution and carry it out, how we limit or expand our strategies and goals and opportunities. But a piece of software doesn't CAUSE revolution; it is neither necessary nor sufficient. Shirky may have over-covered the ROLE Twitter played in a few revolutions (I think he coined this in reference to the Iranian election protests, which of course didn't turn out to be any kind of revolution after all). But he never suggested Twitter was the sole cause of the revolution.

Again: I think this is a distraction from a real debate about that role. 

Shirky, and perhaps Mark, thinks it plays a big role in how revolutions are planned. I am on the lower end, thinking social media provides a new tool but that the core basis of community organizing and movement-building remains. An interesting and useful and fruitful debate is to be had here. But no one on either side suggests Twitter causes revolution and people have no role, as the original columnist parodied fictional people saying -- and focusing on that straw man takes us away from the debate that can actually help move us forward on, you know, working on future revolutions.

--ivan ("web" is just the email)

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